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


Which horse do you fancy in the Derby? try to fancy, if you can, our mother on an elephant when she was touring India


His plans to build a new stadium are the product of pure fancy. Critics have dismissed his plan as mere fancy.


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

Likewise, the Times’ eagerness for more female contributors should improve the odds of my getting commissioned to write its op-eds—but only so long as the editors fancy my politics. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Fifty-Fifty Follies," 10 June 2019 Having last appeared at a Women's World Cup 20 years ago, Italy made a memorable return as Juventus star Barbara Bonansea scored twice, including a dramatic stoppage time winner, to give the Azzurre a shock 2-1 win over much fancied Australia. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Cristiane: Brazil striker makes Women's World Cup history in win over Jamaica," 9 June 2019 With the next World Cup just around the corner, the 30-year-old is hoping to have a spot on the plane to Russia and really fancies his chances as a result of Bayern's profile., "Sandro Wagner Happy to Be Back at Bayern Despite Competition for Places," 24 Jan. 2018 One person is after carpets (spoilt for choice), another wants towels (ditto), someone else fancies a playful headdress for tonight’s party, and another is focused on Turkish delight. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Attends Serdar Gülgün’s Opulent Ottoman Ball in Istanbul," 4 Feb. 2019 Current Form Japan weren't fancied going in given their sketchy immediate form., "World Cup Preview: Japan vs Senegal - Recent Form, Team News, Predictions & More," 23 June 2018 Things did not get much better for Gomes at Spurs after that season - he was loaned out to Hoffenheim for the 2012/13 campaign, before returning to the club in 2013/14 under Andre Villas-Boas who, like Redknapp, didn't fancy him., "Watford Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes Claims Former Teammate Luka Modric Told Him to Quit Spurs," 10 Apr. 2018 Possible Route to the Final Argentina should still fancy its chances to win the group., "Argentina's World Cup Fate Tough to Peg Despite Messi, Star-Studded Squad," 2 June 2018 Leland, meanwhile, fancies himself a kind of Holden Caulfield type, too smart for this life, able to see the phonies in a world of hypocrisy. New York Times, "This Novel Opens With a Suicide and a Suitcase of Cash. Then Things Get Really Interesting.," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Its patches of colorful blooms and comforting aromas can’t help but catch a passerby’s fancy. Sherry Stern, Orange County Register, "Great Escape: It’s always inn season at Rancho Bernardo," 14 June 2019 In 2013, the chain teamed with San Antonio grocer H-E-B, another cult favorite among South Texans, to sell the fast-food joints’ fancy and spicy ketchups, pancake mix and Whatafries and other products on the grocer’s shelves. Joshua Fechter,, "Whataburger sells majority ownership stake to Chicago investment firm, the end of an era for the Texas staple," 14 June 2019 Whatever your preference, there’s a summer movie for everyone’s film fancy. Brittany Brown,, "A guide to outdoor movies around the Baltimore region," 13 June 2019 The heated — yet friendly — debate has helped firm up the idea that most tickled Hawking’s fancy. Quanta Magazine, "Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning," 6 June 2019 That means leaning into any trend, like rye barrel aging and wild yeast fermentation, that strikes the brewers’ fancy. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "New Belgium Builds a Brewery in a Denver Hotel," 12 Apr. 2019 Gaga scored the ultimate accessory to complete the look: a Tiffany diamond whose legendary fancy yellow stone was first discovered in 1877 and has led a storied life since. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Lady Gaga Just Brought 128 Carats Worth of Bling to the Oscars," 25 Feb. 2019 Alfa Romeo at The Grand Hotel Tremezzo Lake ComoEvery fancy recreating that iconic driving scene from The Graduate? Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "Forget Old-School 'House Cars': These Hotels Will Have You Riding in Incredible Luxury Vehicles," 10 Aug. 2018 Each episode features the chefs Derry Clarke, Paul Flynn and Catherine Fulvio going to different fancy and old Irish estates and recreating opulent meals from centuries ago. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Boar bristles and bone handles were fancy, expensive materials, meaning that only the wealthy could afford brushes. National Geographic, "How your toothbrush became a part of the plastic crisis," 14 June 2019 There's a reason drinks are served in glass stemware at fancy dinner parties and not disposable solo cups. Olivia Harrison,, "11 Irresistibly Chic Glass Water Bottles For Every Type Of Hydrator," 10 June 2019 Special exhibits, speakers, Night Skies sessions, and films lead up to the 50th itself, featuring fancy parties for donors and skyward fun for all. Lauren Mccutcheon,, "Family fun in Philadelphia: Dinosaurs on the Parkway, zipline at the zoo, JoJo Siwa, Apollo 11 festivities, Cirque," 5 June 2019 Ma Cocotte is probably the fanciest, located right at the entrance to Paul Bert and Serpette, but there’s also Le P’Tit Landais, La Péricole, Le Petit Navire, and more. Amanda Sims, House Beautiful, "How to Shop the Paris Flea Market Like a Pro," 4 June 2019 Leave it to #Miam to always turn a glamorous appearance into a funny one, like the time Liam photobombed his wife on the way to to a fancy pre-Oscars dinner party. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Miley Cyrus Performs at Beale Street Music Festival," 5 May 2019 For years, Rent the Runway has been my go-to source for finding stylish pieces for many of the important events in my life—from super fancy dinner parties to the most romantic weddings. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "13 Wedding Guest Dresses On Sale for Under $70 at Rent the Runway," 17 Aug. 2018 They are surrounded by equally horrifying members of the aristocracy—most notably, Princess Margaret (Harriet Walker), who in one episode appears as the guest of honor at a fancy dinner party. Joy Press, HWD, "Patrick Melrose: How Benedict Cumberbatch Climbed Inside His Favorite Antihero," 5 June 2018 Forget the fancy four-star places: What food fans in Charlotte really want to know is this: Will House of Pizza on Central Avenue ever reopen? Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "When will House of Pizza reopen? We have news (at last) | Charlotte Observer," 30 Apr. 2018

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

Statistics for fancy

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fancy

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

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More Definitions for fancy



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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More from Merriam-Webster on fancy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fancy

Spanish Central: Translation of fancy

Nglish: Translation of fancy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fancy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about fancy

Comments on fancy

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


to take the place or position of

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