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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Stephen Kay has a much less fanciful theory about the allure of the homicidal. Los Angeles Times, "At the Museum of Death, every day is like a Charles Manson anniversary," 10 Aug. 2019 Enchanting poetry, love run amuck, bumbling comedy, and fanciful antics under the summer stars combine for a perfect night at Marin County's only professional Shakespeare company, now celebrating its 30th anniversary season!, "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," 9 Aug. 2019 Dulos’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, called the wife’s claims fanciful. David Owens,, "Warrant: Man under order to avoid contact with estranged wife arrested after Fotis Dulos reaches out to her," 1 Aug. 2019 Both are fanciful flying machines that look a little like Rube Goldberg devices as designed by a slightly mad Edwardian. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Air and Space Museum used to feature flying machines of the strangest sort," 27 July 2019 The dance itself, though, tended toward the serious, with gracefully fraught solos, a traditionally apprehensive pas de deux for the adulterous Paolo and Francesca, and all kinds of creatures in various states of fanciful torment. Mark Swed,, "Review: Thomas Adès’ spectacular ‘Inferno’ gets the Wayne McGregor and Tacita Dean touch," 14 July 2019 The president’s goal of raising crude production by around 50% by 2024, from 1.7m today, looks fanciful. The Economist, "Latin America’s state-run oil giants are struggling," 12 July 2019 Kahn & Selesnick, in studio starting April 4, on exhibit through May 30: Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick make fanciful stories through photography and installation. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lux unveils 13th residency season with a focus on inclusivity," 12 July 2019 On the last day of May, Fost steps off the street and onto the wooden floor boards at Montage, a 26-year-old restaurant known for its servers in lab coats, its late (all-ages) hours and the fanciful aluminum foil animals fashioned for leftovers. Michael Russell,, "How restaurant inspectors determine which Portland kitchens pass – and fail – their inspections," 11 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of fanciful

circa 1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fanciful

Dictionary Entries near fanciful







fan club

Statistics for fanciful

Last Updated

14 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fanciful

The first known use of fanciful was circa 1627

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fanciful



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!