Posted by: gillarbuthnott | September 22, 2013

Not Another Feisty Heroine…

Peanuts-LucyI am getting one of those mini obsessions that crop up from time to time. This time, it’s the use of the word ‘feisty’ in reviews to describe almost every major female character in a book. Seriously, people, can’t we come up with a few alternatives? This is just starting to look lazy.

I tried to look the word up, but it wasn’t in either my Chambers or Shorter Oxford, which is puzzling in itself. Here’s what Oxford dictionaries online says:

  • (of a person, typically one who is relatively small) lively, determined, and courageous:

     eg a love story with a feisty heroine who’s more than a pretty face

Which is all fine and dandy, but here’s what they say about the origin:

Late 19th century: from earlier  feist, fist ‘small dog’, from fisting cur or hound, a derogatory term for a lapdog, from Middle English fist ‘break wind’, of West Germanic origin.

Is this really what we want for our heroines? Let’s see if we can come up with some alternatives!



  1. I like “lively, determined, and courageous”! As opposed to flatulent and dinky.

  2. Vastly better!

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