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See also: FIST



Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for fist in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Alternative formsEdit


Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English fist, from Old English fȳst (fist), from Proto-Germanic *funstiz, from Proto-Indo-European *pn̥kʷstis. Cognate with West Frisian fûst, Dutch vuist, German Faust. Compare Lithuanian kùmstė, Old Church Slavonic пѧсть (pęstĭ)), from *pénkʷe (five). More at five.


fist (plural fists)

  1. A hand with the fingers clenched or curled inward.
    The boxer's fists rained down on his opponent in the last round.
  2. (printing) The pointing hand symbol .
  3. (amateur radio) The characteristic signaling rhythm of an individual telegraph or CW operator when sending Morse code.
  4. (slang) A person's characteristic handwriting.
  5. A group of men. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  6. The talons of a bird of prey.
    • Edmund Spenser
      More light than culver in the falcon's fist.
  7. (informal) An attempt at something.
    • 2015, Daniel Taylor, Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero too good for Chelsea as Diego Costa labours (in The Guardian, 16 August 2015) [1]:
      City look stronger, fitter and more motivated than last season and even at this early stage the gap feels like a sizeable advantage. Yes, it is way too early to make snap judgments about the impact on the title race. It has, however, been long enough to ascertain that Manuel Pellegrini’s team are going to make a much better fist of it this time.
    • 2005, Darryl N. Davis, Visions of Mind: Architectures for Cognition and Affect, page 144:
      With the rise of cognitive neuroscience, the time may be coming when we can make a reasonable fist of mapping down from an understanding of the functional architecture of the mind to the structural architecture of the brain.
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Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit


fist (third-person singular simple present fists, present participle fisting, simple past and past participle fisted)

  1. To strike with the fist.
    ...may not score a point with his open hand(s), but may score a point by fisting the ball. Damian Cullen. "Running the rule." The Irish Times 18 Aug 2003, pg. 52.
  2. To close (the hand) into a fist.
    • 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, Ada or Ardor, Penguin 2011, p. 29:
      He noticed Ada's trick of hiding her fingernails by fisting her hand or stretching it with the palm turned upward when helping herself to a biscuit.
  3. To grip with a fist.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 34
      I am an officer; but, how I wish I could fist a bit of old-fashioned beef in the fore-castle, as I used to when I was before the mast.
  4. (slang) To fist-fuck.

See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English fisten, fiesten, from Old English *fistan ("to break wind gently"; supported by Old English fisting (breaking wind)), from Proto-Germanic *fistaz (breaking wind, fart), from Proto-Germanic *fīsaną (to break or discharge wind, fart), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peys- (to blow, breathe). Cognate with Dutch veest (a fart), Low German fīsten (to break wind), German Fist (a quiet wind), Fisten (breaking wind), Swedish fisa (to fart), Latin spīrō (breathe, blow), Albanian fryj (to blow, breath).


fist (third-person singular simple present fists, present participle fisting, simple past and past participle fisted)

  1. (intransitive) To break wind.
Derived termsEdit


fist (plural fists)

  1. The act of breaking wind; fise.
  2. A puffball.


Middle FrenchEdit



  1. third-person singular past historic of faire