feist vs fice what difference

what is difference between feist and fice


Alternative forms

  • fist, fice


Earliest sense is “fart”, and later “stink” as abbreviation for fysting cur “stinking dog” (1520s). From Middle English fysten (mid-15th century), from Old English. Cognates with Middle Dutch veest and Dutch vijst. Possibly from Proto-Germanic *fistiz (a fart), presumably from Proto-Indo-European *pesd-, though this is disputed.

One explanation for the association of farting with small dogs is given in an 1811 slang dictionary, which suggests that the dogs were blamed for farting, specifically defining fice as “a small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs.”

Cognate terms include German Fist (soft fart), Danish fise (to blow, to fart) and Middle English askefise (bellows, literally fire-blower, ash-blower), from Old Norse; originally “a term of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney corner”.


  • IPA(key): /faɪst/
  • Rhymes: -aɪst


feist (plural feists)

  1. (US, regional) A small, snappy, belligerent mixed-breed dog.
  2. (vulgar) Silent (but pungent) flatulence.
    Synonym: SBD

Usage notes

The term feist is uncommon, but the derived term feisty is common.

Derived terms

  • feisty



  • Feits, Fites, Stief, fetis



  • IPA(key): /faɪ̯st/

Etymology 1

From Middle High German veizet, from Old High German feizzit, from Proto-West Germanic *faitid, whence also fett (through Middle Low German).


feist (comparative feister, superlative am feistesten)

  1. (derogatory, now chiefly literary) fat (of a person)
Usage notes
  • Feist typically adds a negative moral judgment to the description, implying gluttony, laziness, and/or unrightful wealth. For example, ein feister Kapitalist (a fat capitalist).

Etymology 2

See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.



  1. second-person singular present of feien

Further reading

  • “feist” in Duden online
  • “feist” in Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm, 16 vols., Leipzig 1854–1961.


Alternative forms

  • feist, fise, fist


fice (plural fices)

  1. (US regional) A small, snappy, belligerent, mixed-breed dog.
    • 1805 October 3, Lorenzo Dow, journal, in Orrin Scofield (ed.), Perambulations of Cosmopolite; or Travels and Labors of Lorenzo Dow, in Europe and America, Orrin Scofield (1842), page 178,
      He wrote a letter to Bob Sample, one of the most popular A-double-L-part preachers in the country, who like a little fice, or cur dog, would rail behind my back.
    • a1849, James W. C. Pennington, The Fugitive Blacksmith; or, Events in the History of James W. C. Pennington, Pastor of a Presbyterian Church, New York, Formerly a Slave in the State of Maryland, United States, Second Edition, Charles Gilpin (1849), pages 33–34,
      Besides inflicting upon my own excited imagination the belief that I made noise enough to be heard by the inmates of the house who were likely to be rising at the time, I had the misfortune to attract the notice of a little house-dog, such as we call in that part of the world a “fice,’ [sic] on account of its being not only the smallest species of the canine race, but also, because it is the most saucy, noisy, and teasing of all dogs.
    • 1873, Joseph S. Williams, Old Times in West Tennessee: Reminiscences—Semi-historic—of Pioneer Life and the Early Emigrant Settlers in the Big Hatchie Country, W. G. Cheeney, page 260,
      One August afternoon he was returning from his dinner, when near the public square, he came to a little white fice dog and another little dog grining [sic] and growling at each other on the sidewalk.
    • 1955, John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage, Harper and Brothers Publishers, page 114
      At Belton, an armed thug suddenly arose and started toward him. But old Sam Houston, looking him right in the eye, put each hand on his own pistols: “Ladies and Gentlemen, keep your seats. It is nothing but a fice barking at the lion in his den.
    • 1995, George Cauley, quoted in Mark Derr, Dog’s Best Friend: Annals of the Dog-Human Relationship, University of Chicago Press (2004), →ISBN, page 57,
      When I was growing up, everybody had a little dog they called a feist or fice and a big yard dog, a cur.




  1. vocative singular of fīcus




  1. First-person singular (yo) preterite indicative form of facer.

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