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verb fan·cy \ˈfan(t)-sē\

Simple Definition of fancy

  • : to take pleasure in (something)

  • : to consider (someone or something) likely to win or succeed

  • : to want to have or do (something)

Full Definition of fancy


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to have a fancy for :  like

  3. 2 :  to form a conception of :  imagine <fancy our embarrassment>

  4. 3 a :  to believe mistakenly or without evidence b :  to believe without being certain <she fancied she had met him before>

  5. 4 :  to visualize or interpret as <fancied myself a child again>

Examples of fancy

  1. Which horse do you fancy in the Derby?

  2. <try to fancy, if you can, our mother on an elephant when she was touring India>

14th Century

First Known Use of fancy

14th century

Synonym Discussion of fancy

think, conceive, imagine, fancy, realize, envisage, envision mean to form an idea of. think implies the entrance of an idea into one's mind with or without deliberate consideration or reflection <I just thought of a good joke>. conceive suggests the forming and bringing forth and usually developing of an idea, plan, or design <conceived of a new marketing approach>. imagine stresses a visualization <imagine you're at the beach>. fancy suggests an imagining often unrestrained by reality but spurred by desires <fancied himself a super athlete>. realize stresses a grasping of the significance of what is conceived or imagined <realized the enormity of the task ahead>. envisage and envision imply a conceiving or imagining that is especially clear or detailed <envisaged a totally computerized operation> <envisioned a cure for the disease>.

think, cogitate, reflect, reason, speculate, deliberate mean to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference. think is general and may apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions <teaches students how to think>. cogitate implies deep or intent thinking <cogitated on the mysteries of nature>. reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind <reflecting on fifty years of married life>. reason stresses consecutive logical thinking <able to reason brilliantly in debate>. speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic <speculated on the fate of the lost explorers>. deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision <the jury deliberated for five hours>.



noun fan·cy

Simple Definition of fancy

  • : the feeling of liking someone or something

  • : the power of the mind to imagine things

  • : something imagined

Full Definition of fancy

plural fancies

  1. 1 a :  a liking formed by caprice rather than reason :  inclination <took a fancy to the mutt> b :  amorous fondness :  love

  2. 2 a :  notion, whim b :  an image or representation of something formed in the mind

  3. 3 archaic :  fantastic quality or state

  4. 4 a :  imagination especially of a capricious or delusive sort b :  the power of conception and representation used in artistic expression (as by a poet)

  5. 5 :  taste, judgment

  6. 6 a :  devotees of some particular art, practice, or amusement b :  the object of interest of such a fancy; especially :  1boxing

Examples of fancy

  1. His plans to build a new stadium are the product of pure fancy.

  2. Critics have dismissed his plan as mere fancy.

Origin of fancy

Middle English fantasie, fantsy imagination, image, illusion, preference, from Anglo-French fantasie illusion, from Latin phantasia, from Greek, appearance, imagination, from phantazein to present to the mind (middle voice, to imagine), from phainein to show; akin to Old English gebōned polished, Greek phōs light

First Known Use: 15th century



adjective fan·cy

Simple Definition of fancy

  • : not plain or ordinary

  • : very expensive and fashionable

  • : done with great skill and grace

Full Definition of fancy


  1. 1 :  dependent or based on fancy :  whimsical

  2. 2 a (1) :  not plain :  ornamental <a fancy hairdo> (2) :  swanky 2, posh <a fancy restaurant> b (1) :  of particular excellence or highest grade <fancy tuna> (2) :  impressive <posted some fancy numbers> c of an animal or plant :  bred especially for bizarre or ornamental qualities that lack practical utility

  3. 3 :  based on conceptions of the fancy <fancy sketches>

  4. 4 a :  dealing in fancy goods b :  extravagant <paying fancy prices>

  5. 5 :  executed with technical skill and style <fancy footwork> <fancy diving>

  6. 6 :  parti-color <fancy carnations>

fan·ci·ly play \ˈfan(t)-sə-lē\ adverb
fan·ci·ness play \-sē-nəs\ noun

Examples of fancy

  1. He drives a big, fancy car.

  2. <we're having a little get-together after the concert—nothing fancy>


First Known Use of fancy


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fancy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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