fan·​cy | \ ˈfan(t)-sē How to pronounce fancy (audio) \
fancied; fancying

Definition of fancy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to have a fancy (see fancy entry 2 sense 1) for : like He's all right, I suppose, but I can't say that I fancy him.
2 : to form a conception of : imagine fancy our embarrassment Just fancy my surprise when I heard that he was getting married.
3a : to believe mistakenly or without evidence
b : to believe without being certain she fancied she had met him before real or fancied wrongs
4 : to visualize or interpret as fancied myself a child again


plural fancies

Definition of fancy (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a liking formed by caprice rather than reason : inclination took a fancy to the mutt
b : amorous fondness : love She took a fancy to the young man.
2a : notion, whim
b : an image or representation of something formed in the mind
3 archaic : fantastic quality or state
4a : imagination especially of a capricious or delusive sort His plans to build a new stadium are the product of pure fancy.
b : the power of conception and representation used in artistic expression (as by a poet)
5 : taste, judgment a person of delicate fancy
6a : devotees of some particular art, practice, or amusement
b : the object of interest of such a fancy especially : boxing entry 1


fancier; fanciest

Definition of fancy (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : dependent or based on fancy : whimsical
2a(1) : not plain : ornamental a fancy hairdo
(2) : swank sense 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 : based on conceptions of the fancy fancy sketches
4a : dealing in fancy goods
b : extravagant paying fancy prices
5 : executed with technical skill and style fancy footwork fancy diving
6 : parti-color fancy carnations

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Other Words from fancy


fancily \ ˈfan(t)-​sə-​lē How to pronounce fancily (audio) \ adverb
fanciness \ ˈfan(t)-​sē-​nəs How to pronounce fanciness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of fancy in a Sentence

Verb Which horse do you fancy in the Derby? try to fancy, if you can, our mother on an elephant when she was touring India Noun His plans to build a new stadium are the product of pure fancy. Critics have dismissed his plan as mere fancy. Adjective He drives a big, fancy car. we're having a little get-together after the concert—nothing fancy
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Like: who knew Diedrich Bader, the horse-faced American actor best known for playing Drew Carey’s dim-witted best buddy for the better part of a decade on an ABC weeknight sitcom, fancied himself a seasoned psychonaut? John Semley, The New Republic, "Have a Good Trip Demystifies Psychedelics," 13 May 2020 Many of them had trademark symbols and registered signs next to them and fancy proper names, like Pentavitin, CroNoline, and Syn-Ake. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Nam Vo Says This $1,750 "Liquid Surgery" Serum Is Worth the Hype," 5 Nov. 2019 It's also mentioned that a loan could be on the cards, with the Blues fancying the idea of extending his contract before sending him out for another season., "Transfer Rumours: PSG Lead Race for Rose, Liverpool Open to Ejaria Sale, Hammers After Medel & More," 24 July 2019 Leonard has long fancied the idea of returning home to his native Southern California to play for the Clippers, who have an interesting young roster and a smart, aggressive front office. Bruce Jenkins,, "Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury: Shock waves hit NBA free agency and beyond," 11 June 2019 Here’s how things could get uncomfortable for USA Basketball in 2021, assuming the Olympics actually take place: Commissioner Adam Silver has long fancied starting future NBA seasons around Christmas Day. Bruce Jenkins,, "No Olympics? Warriors aren’t too concerned," 27 Mar. 2020 Because the big-cat owners are showmen (beyond the zoo, Joe fancies himself a country-and-western singer), there's a whole lot of vamping for the cameras. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Tiger King' is the weird docu-series distraction we can use right now," 20 Mar. 2020 But Garland evidently also has some feelings about dealing with film studios and production companies (many of which may not fancy the unflinching outcomes of his stories). Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Starring Nick Offerman as bearded tech-bro enigma, FX’s Devs has a lot going on," 6 Mar. 2020 Just as every country club duffer envisions himself on the back nine at The Masters, most weekend anglers have at some point fancied the idea of making a living fishing for bass. Pete Robbins, Field & Stream, "Meet the 10 Highest-Earners in Professional Bass Fishing," 6 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This quick test doesn't require a fancy, proprietary diagnostic tabletop machine—any lab could get the test running quickly and cheaply. Amos Zeeberg, Wired, "Coronavirus Testing Is Coming Closer to Your Doctor's Office," 14 Apr. 2020 Every time Wakeling attempts a flight of fancy, Roger foils him, with help from the sax peals of Lionel Augustus Martin, a.k.a. Alfred Soto, Billboard, "Ranking Full Stop: How Ranking Roger Helped Make The English Beat New Wave's Greatest Fusion Act," 27 Mar. 2019 An inspiring movie, play or concert can whisk you away on happy flights of fancy. oregonlive, "Horoscope for Feb. 7, 2020: Happy birthday Chris Rock; Aquarius, inventive ideas blossom," 7 Feb. 2020 Her stories are infused with interesting factoids, small memories and insights, and whimsical flights of fancy. Adrienne So, Wired, "Comic Book Artists on Parenthood, Creativity, and Cry-Barfing," 29 Jan. 2020 If all of this strikes your fancy, get your name in early. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Mercedes-Benz Pops Up with a Weekender Camper," 6 Feb. 2020 Molly Ringwald says her love for avocados isn't just a passing fancy. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Molly Ringwald excited to share 'long-standing' love of avocados in quirky Super Bowl ad debut," 28 Jan. 2020 The regionals semifinals weren’t a passing fancy for Cypress Creek. Jason Mcdaniel, Houston Chronicle, "Cougars' first half explosion enough to hold off Mayde Creek," 21 Nov. 2019 Slow fashion is not a passing fancy for Lindberg and Jansson. Vogue, "Inabo’s Handmade Swedish Slippers Will Make You a Homebody," 21 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The films generally rely on a predictable formula: the two men travel, eat fancy meals, bicker, throw in some fun impressions, and so on. Radhika Marya, Fortune, "What to watch this weekend on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and more," 22 May 2020 Overeager customers clamor for the fanciest, most profitable versions, and dealers seldom have to offer discounts or incentives. Kyle Stock,, "The Year’s Hottest New Cars Just Got Cold as Ice," 12 May 2020 There's Senior Banquet, when juniors serve seniors a fancy meal, and the 50-days-until-graduation lunch. Lisa Selin Davis, CNN, "High school seniors get creative while also grieving this year's rites of passage," 23 Apr. 2020 This is a fancy way of describing the specific patent-pending design of the hollow-body guitar. Popular Science, "I tried a bajillion new products this year. Here are 17 you should actually buy.," 16 Dec. 2019 Houts said Jones paid Lewis and her son, or expensed fancy meals from Arcadis to the BWWB, in the days and weeks leading up to several profitable contracts for the company. Ivana Hrynkiw |, al, "Birmingham water board member guilty on ethics charges," 30 Oct. 2019 Removing the physical office space means nobody gets any sense of how fancy or well-appointed (or not) anybody else’s surroundings are. Grace Chen, Quartz at Work, "Video conferencing is a secret equalizer for women," 7 May 2020 And though everyone’s diet has some environmental impact, wealthy meat-eaters and those who can afford fancy imported goods have a far larger impact on the planet than the poor. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, "The Dark Search for a “Silver Lining” to the Coronavirus," 4 May 2020 Halfway through, the teams switch roles and lose their fancy guns and funds. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Valorant Is Cutthroat, Punishing, and Addictive as Hell," 28 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fancy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fancy


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fancy

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

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

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Learn More about fancy

Time Traveler for fancy

Time Traveler

The first known use of fancy was in the 14th century

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Statistics for fancy

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for fancy


How to pronounce fancy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fancy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

informal : to take pleasure in (something)
chiefly British, informal : to consider (someone or something) likely to win or succeed
chiefly British, informal : to want to have or do (something)



English Language Learners Definition of fancy (Entry 2 of 3)

: the feeling of liking someone or something
: the power of the mind to imagine things
: something imagined



English Language Learners Definition of fancy (Entry 3 of 3)

: not plain or ordinary
: very expensive and fashionable
: done with great skill and grace


fan·​cy | \ ˈfan-sē How to pronounce fancy (audio) \
fancier; fanciest

Kids Definition of fancy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not plain or ordinary a fancy dress
2 : being above the average (as in quality or price) fancy fruits
3 : done with great skill and grace fancy diving

Other Words from fancy

fancily \ ˈfan-​sə-​lē \ adverb a fancily decorated cake


plural fancies

Kids Definition of fancy (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : imagination sense 1 a flight of fancy
2 : liking She took a fancy to her new neighbors.
3 : idea sense 2, notion … Oz had a fancy to make the balloon in different shades of the color about them.— L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz


fancied; fancying

Kids Definition of fancy (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to have a liking for I've never fancied Halloween.
2 : imagine sense 1 I fancied that I would have married him …— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved

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