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 Dallas will — in all likelihood — make the playoffs and fancies itself a Stanley Cup contender thanks to Ben Bishop’s goaltending and the defensive identity in front of him. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Stars begin the road trip with comeback overtime win against the Devils," 1 Feb. 2020 For the holidays, the light fixture was fancied with greenery and Christmas gnomes. Mary Wakeford, azcentral, "From foreclosure to fabulous. Take a look at this Peoria home," 9 Jan. 2020 Because everyone fancies some good old fashioned Flower Power now and then. Kara Nesvig, Allure, "11 Nail Art Designs That Look Great on Shorter Nails," 30 Dec. 2019 Still, Hollywood fancies itself as a town that operates on gut instinct rather than algorithms, for better or for worse. Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Warner Bros. Signs Deal for AI-Driven Film Management System (Exclusive)," 8 Jan. 2020 The show, which has been recreated at Lollapalooza and will be performed at upcoming festival slots, fancies itself a bit of a drama. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Flume Opens Up About Grammy-Nominated 'Hi This Is Flume' Mixtape, Plans New Music," 27 Dec. 2019 In a recent interview with the The Wall Street Journal, the 78-year-old opens up about what she's been up to, her holiday fancies, and her plans for New Year's Eve. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Martha Stewart Reveals NYE Plans: Asleep Before Midnight, but Not Without Caviar and Vodka," 19 Dec. 2019 Several of the city’s mayors have fancied themselves as the governor of New York, as its United States senator or as the American president. New York Times, "In Defense of Jane Austen. Also Zebras.," 27 Sep. 2019 Does Malone, with his face tattoos and genre-bending music, fancy himself as today’s Ozzy Osbourne? Meagan Fredette,, "There Is One Song On The New Post Malone Album That Is Blowing Minds," 6 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Like a lot of us, food pro Chungah Rhee loved the idea of a dinner-in-a-fancy-restaurant Valentine’s Day. Stephanie Thurrott, NBC News, "Valentine's Day recipes: A three-course steakhouse dinner you can make at home," 7 Feb. 2020 Then came the question: What was the deal with his fancy looking sneakers? Francesca Derosa, Wired, "Athletic Authorities Must Reckon With Racing Tech Again," 24 Jan. 2020 Feel free to pursue whatever activity captures your fancy. oregonlive, "Horoscope for Feb. 2, 2020: Leo, passion pushes the on button; Libra, apply some sympathy," 2 Feb. 2020 Year after year, the day brings everything from overpriced roses and giant stuffed bears to fancy, planned dinners. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, "You Can Win 18 Years of Free Valentine's Day Hotel Stays If You Make a Baby at Hotel Zed This Year," 28 Jan. 2020 Users can post six second videos to Byte, either by spontaneously turning on the camera and filming whatever catches their fancy, or uploading pre-existing videos. Shannon Liao, CNN, "Byte, the sequel to Vine and potential competitor to TikTok, launches on mobile," 25 Jan. 2020 And here comes James, and wins more money faster than anybody else had ever done on the show, and really caught America’s fancy. Lynn Elber,, "‘Jeopardy’ titans compete for $1 million, ‘Greatest’ title," 4 Jan. 2020 Impeachment is being reinvented as way of presidential life that will supposedly impale Trump one day or at least constrain him, as occasional additional writs are added on, as the polls, media, and Democratic fancy dictate. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Impeachment Fallouts," 31 Dec. 2019 If things that go bump in the night tickle your fancy, there’s plenty of material to work with. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "New book explores how clairvoyants and spiritual fads followed 19th century British Arctic expeditions," 7 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After lawmakers returned to their fancy digs across the street, prisoners were held there during the Civil War. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The secret feminist history of the US Supreme Court," 13 Feb. 2020 Especially the big standard size, with their fancy coifs that would put the supermodels now in town for Fashion Week to shame. Ben Walker, Anchorage Daily News, "Poodle perfection: Siba wins best in show at Westminster," 12 Feb. 2020 Especially the big standard size, with their fancy coifs that would put the supermodels now in town for Fashion Week to shame. CBS News, "Siba the standard poodle wins "Best in Show" at Westminster Dog Show," 12 Feb. 2020 Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Toothbrush Just like high-end razors, fancy toothbrushes need to justify their price tags. Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, "Tech Gadgets to Power Your Wellness Routines, from Meditation to Sleep to Juicing," 11 Feb. 2020 Mo served as a sort of fancy-seed gatherer, mounting increasingly risky collection efforts, walking fields and surreptitiously gathering samples for shipment back to China, where his employer aimed to copy them. Howard W. French, WSJ, "‘The Scientist and the Spy’ Review: Agent Running in the Field," 9 Feb. 2020 Aren't there more than three PC games from the past year-plus that support DirectX 12 ray tracing that Nvidia has loudly advertised as reasons to buy one of their fancy RTX graphics cards? Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "RIP Stadia? Nvidia’s newly launched cloud-gaming service is (mostly) a stunner," 4 Feb. 2020 The fancy feline was introduced via Twitter on Jan. 24. Leah Rocketto, Woman's Day, "Who Is the Kitty On 'The Masked Singer'? Fans Are Making Puns Instead of Guesses," 1 Feb. 2020 The Pattern beauty creator and hair chameleon gave her ponytail a whimsical edit by gathering her curls into a fancy fabric braid–the kind that makes for a good hair day. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "Tracee Ellis Ross's Pretty Ponytail Is On Our To-Do List," 31 Jan. 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

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 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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