Posted by ESC on July 18, 2003
In Reply to: Fice posted by James Briggs on July 18, 2003
: In today's 'Times', the daily Word Quiz had 'fice', with 3 offered possible meanings;
: a) a fifth
: b) to sneer
: c) a dog
: The answer was (c). The given origin is below - it has a rather intriguing ending!
: FICE An obsolete English word still used in Kentucky and the South for a small dog or cur, sometimes spelt 'phyce'. It is evidently the last small remnant of the old English "foisting cur". The foisting dog was a kind of lap-dog, so called from its bad habits, which often have to serve as an excuse for the wind of the owner. Hence "feisty".
Interesting! I can testify that my grandmother in southern West Virginia (1950s/60s) used the word "feist" to refer to her little dog Snowball. I don't think Snowball got blamed for wind though.