-SS -> -ST?

Alison Murie sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Sat Dec 2 17:43:15 UTC 2006

>Well, that is certainly the way that my Texan grandmother pronounced
>it: "fice." The way that she used it was to mean, descriptively of a
>person, "small, but tough and quick to anger," i.e. something like a
>"banty rooster" in disposition. It was many years before I discovered
>that "fice" had anything to do with any kind of dog. Before that
>discovery, I considered a fice to be something like an elf or a
>brownie, just some kind of small, but ass-kicking, mythical being. The
>use of this term in my family died with my grandparents.
>BTW, is / was there really a breed of dog known as a "fiest" / "feist"
>in existence?
I remember its being used in M.K.Rawlings'  /The Yearling/, set in
backwoods Florida, as a designation for a dog (which I interpreted to mean
more or less what Wilson's grandmother intended as characteristic of the
breed).  I can't now remember whether it was spelled "feist" or "fice,"
since I have seen both in various other contexts.

~@:>   ~@:>   ~@:>   ~@:>

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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