Thursday, August 21, 2008

Word Rescue Squad: fist/feist

[What follows is the OED entry for fist(2).]

fist, n.2 [pr. like "feist," which is a variant spelling.]


Forms: 5 fyyst, 5-7, 9 fiste, 6-7 fiest, fyest, fyst(e, 9 Sc. feist, 7, 9 fist. Also FOIST.

1. A breaking wind, a foul smell, stink. Obs.

1440 Promp. Parv. 163/1 Fyyst, stynk, lirida. 1511 Demaundes joyous in Kemble Salomon (1848) 288 It is fartes and fyestes. a1529 SKELTON Elynour Rummyng 343 Jone sayne she had eaten a fyest; By Christ, sayde she, thou lyest, I haue as swete a breth As thou. 1605 B. JONSON, etc. Eastward Hoe IV, Fivb, Marry, fyste o' your kindnesse. I thought as much. 1611 COTGR., Secrette..a fiste. 1664 COTTON Scarron. 44 With that he whistled out most mainly. You might have heard his Fist..From one side of the skie to th' t' other.

[The entry goes on to talk about "fisting-hounds."]

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