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".