fan·​ci·​ful | \ ˈfan(t)-si-fəl How to pronounce fanciful (audio) \

Definition of fanciful

1 : marked by fancy or unrestrained imagination rather than by reason and experience a fanciful person a fanciful tale of a monster in the woods
2 : existing in fancy (see fancy entry 2) only a fanciful notion the falsehoods about some fanciful secret treaties— F. D. Roosevelt
3 : marked by or as if by fancy or whim gave their children fanciful names

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Other Words from fanciful

fancifully \ ˈfan(t)-​si-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce fancifully (audio) \ adverb
fancifulness \ ˈfan(t)-​si-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce fancifulness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fanciful

imaginary, fanciful, visionary, fantastic, chimerical, quixotic mean unreal or unbelievable. imaginary applies to something which is fictitious and purely the product of one's imagination. an imaginary desert isle fanciful suggests the free play of the imagination. a teller of fanciful stories visionary stresses impracticality or incapability of realization. visionary schemes fantastic implies incredibility or strangeness beyond belief. a fantastic world inhabited by monsters chimerical combines the implication of visionary and fantastic. chimerical dreams of future progress quixotic implies a devotion to romantic or chivalrous ideals unrestrained by ordinary prudence and common sense. a quixotic crusade

Examples of fanciful in a Sentence

a fanciful tale of a monster in the woods They gave all their children fanciful names.
Recent Examples on the Web Banks were freed to merge, and sell risky, bizarre, and fanciful new products (think consolidated debt obligations and credit default swaps). Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, "Everyone Wants to Be a Bank," 6 Jan. 2020 The least fanciful of these fantasy novels, Shippen’s world feels entirely grounded in the internal chaos of adolescence and shows the presence of the extraordinary in everyday life. Washington Post, "The best YA fantasy to read now," 24 Dec. 2019 While others put forth big and fanciful ideas, Mr. Smith’s proposal was politically palatable and constitutionally sound: reparations through educational support. Erica L. Green, New York Times, "A ‘Second Chance’ After 27 Years in Prison: How Criminal Justice Helped an Ex-Inmate Graduate," 8 July 2019 Sad news first: The best black bean soup in recent memory is history, and so is the fanciful mural of a sunny Havana. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "The more Mexican, the merrier, with the arrival of Anafre," 26 Dec. 2019 The journey starts with a stroll down Main Street USA with its bright colors and fanciful architecture, a fairy-tale castle rising in the distance. Scott Craven, azcentral, "The VIP's guide to Disneyland, from Club 33 to signature suites," 23 Dec. 2019 Enjoyed by all ages, the performance features fanciful costumes that complement the dancers. cleveland, "Beachwood, Grand Valley schools pass resolutions following September racial event at football game; Press Run," 20 Dec. 2019 The Parchita mixes Spice 94 by Seedlip, makers of the distilled spirit-free spirits, with passionfruit, pineapple and tonic water for a fanciful nonalcoholic cocktail. Louisa Chu,, "Time Out Market guide: Here’s everything you should try at Chicago’s newest food hall," 6 Dec. 2019 Monica Titus’s costumes also have plenty to say about their wearers — and take a turn for the fun at play’s end when all heck breaks loose in the fanciful finale. Matthew J. Palm,, "In The Villages, a polished look at global ‘Neighbors’ | Review," 1 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fanciful.' 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 fanciful

circa 1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fanciful

Time Traveler

The first known use of fanciful was circa 1627

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Statistics for fanciful

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fanciful.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for fanciful


How to pronounce fanciful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fanciful

: coming from the imagination
: showing imagination : unusual and appealing


fan·​ci·​ful | \ ˈfan-si-fəl How to pronounce fanciful (audio) \

Kids Definition of fanciful

1 : showing free use of the imagination a fanciful tale
2 : coming from imagination rather than reason He dreamed up a fanciful plan for getting rich.

Other Words from fanciful

fancifully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on fanciful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fanciful

Spanish Central: Translation of fanciful

Nglish: Translation of fanciful for Spanish Speakers

Comments on fanciful

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


good-natured easy friendliness

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