Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 10:13:17 -0700
From: Allen Maberry maberry[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Subject: Re: etymology of FEIST
Actually, Goethe only uses the word "feist" once in "Faust" and that
in the sense of fat. Adressing the "fat devils (Dickteufeln) with short,
straight horns" is line 11657: Ihr glueht so recht vom Hoellenschwefel
feist; (you glow so fat from Hell-sulphur).
Kluge's Etymologisches Woerterbuch (22. Aufl) lists "feist" adj. MHG
viez(e)t, OHG feiz(i)t cf. Anglo Saxon "faett" feist is the past
participle of veizen = ONorse feita "to make fat, fatten"
Grimm gives "feist" as ventus tacitus, Gk bdesma and the verb feisten as
"visire, peditum sine crepitum etmittere, Gk. bdein. and gives several
humorous examples of its use (one of the latest to use feisten = to
fart silently is Luther.)
fart is derived from Gk. perdesthai, Skt. pardate OHG is ferzan, doesn't
seem conected to veizen.
maberry[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]u.washington.edu
On Thu, 19 Sep 1996, Ron Butters wrote:
The term "feist" and "cur" often are referred to as a dog of uncertain
bloodlines. However certain feist and cur dog varities have been preserved
in Appalachia and Southern Ontario Canada that are bred for
purpose since the 1700's and have been registered since 1980. [...]
Goethe (he hated dogs) in "Faust" refers to the word.
Considering that Goethe wrote in German, what's that got to do with it?
My (admittedly not exhaustive) G-E dictionary lists "feist" only as an
adjective meaning 'fat' or 'obese'. If Goethe did indeed use "Feist" as a
word for a kind of dog, it may have etymological relevance. If the word
occurs in an English translation, then of course it bears not on Goethe's
usage but the translator's.
M y memory is that FEIST and FART are etymologically connected. At ANY RATE,
speaking experientially, the connection makes sense to me.