Does Mitt Romney have Chris Christie to thank for his feistiness?
If only Huntsman had shown some of that feistiness on stage.
Here was the feistiness that likely could have made him the victor had his name been on the ballot.
1896, "aggressive, exuberant, touchy," American English, with -y (2) + feist "small dog," earlier fice, fist (American English, 1805); short for fysting curre "stinking cur," attested from 1520s, from Middle English fysten, fisten "break wind" (mid-15c.); related to Old English fisting "stink," from Proto-Germanic *fistiz- "a fart," said to be from PIE *pezd- (see fart), but there are difficulties.
The 1811 slang dictionary defines fice as "a small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs." Cf. also Danish fise "to blow, to fart," and obsolete English aske-fise, "fire-tender," literally "ash-blower" (early 15c.), from an unrecorded Norse source, used in Middle English for a kind of bellows, but originally "a term of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney corner" [OED].
Truculent; irascible: They said the president was a feisty little chap/ He was having trouble with a feisty old lady who didn't want to move
[1896+; fr feist, found by 1770, ''small, worthless cur, esp a lapdog'']