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 fancy (audio) \ adverb
fanciness \ ˈfan(t)-​sē-​nəs How to pronounce fancy (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 Though a loud minority of Tory MPs fancy a speedier exit, the opposition Labour Party, which has repeatedly accused the prime minister of recklessness, will not grumble. The Economist, "Boris Johnson manages expectations with England’s covid-19 plan," 27 Feb. 2021 While adults fancy certain fragrances (bourbon, wasabi and Earl Grey tea), others appeal to the younger set (bubble gum, cotton candy and whipped cream). Mike Klingaman,, "Kids Corner: Create personalized fragrances at Aroma Candle Studio in Bel Air," 25 Feb. 2021 Those who fancy a fabulous bag won’t be disappointed with the following clutches, purses, totes and crossbody bags. Lindzi Scharf, Los Angeles Times, "The 19 most covetable purses, bags and totes," 4 Dec. 2020 Remember, Hassan Whiteside had come to fancy himself as an outside threat, but Erik Spoelstra still proved reluctant to play him alongside Bam. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Is Adebayo, Achiuwa in tandem a realistic Heat possibility?," 20 Nov. 2020 Both fancy themselves strongmen with a knack for political showmanship. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, "The World Leaders Emboldened by Trump," 19 Oct. 2020 Rather than fidelity to the constitutional text, many judges fancy themselves defenders of democracy and good government — not coincidentally aligning the Constitution with their own views. Brian Hagedorn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Originalism, which Amy Coney Barrett espouses, simply means the words of the Constitution are the law.," 15 Oct. 2020 From street fare to fancy, options abound in Irving. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, "In honor of National Taco Day, we rounded up 5 Irving taco joints to try this weekend," 1 Oct. 2020 Ultimately each team finished runner-up in their division – but fancy themselves better than their respective seeds may indicate heading into the series at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY, "Yankees vs. Indians: American League Wild Card series preview, schedule, predictions," 29 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ah, spring, when the fancy of a young otter turns to love. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "Adults-only tours of San Antonio Zoo explore sex lives of all creatures great and small," 10 Feb. 2021 His method was to make mathematics out of whatever caught his fancy, but to do so with laser focus. Dan Rockmore, The New Yorker, "Three Mathematicians We Lost in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Look no further than these creative options to tickle your fancy. Karla Pope, Good Housekeeping, "100 Girl Cat Names That Are as Cute and Lovable as Your Kitty," 24 Nov. 2020 Yes, root weevils can give a peony quite a fancy, lacey look. oregonlive, "How to revive a hoya that hasn’t flowered? Ask an expert," 10 Oct. 2020 Here, some flights of fancy from the Vogue Runway archive. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "For Dreamers, 48 Fashion Fantasies From the Vogue Runway Archive," 1 Jan. 2021 Goat farmers have been known to seek out Christmas trees since those animals take a particular fancy to them. Charles Passy, WSJ, "New Christmas Tree Disposal Method? Eat It," 27 Dec. 2020 In creator-writer-director-star-all-around savant Pamela Adlon’s capable hands, a chaotic morning, a faux funeral, a modern dance and a musical number alike become flights of artistic fancy far beyond the bounds of the half-hour family comedy. Los Angeles Times, "8 brilliant TV shows to catch up on during the holidays," 24 Dec. 2020 Tasting rooms, from the fancy to the funny, are mostly empty. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, "California seemingly corralled coronavirus. Now, cases are surging, hospitals are full and shutdowns are back," 24 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Kentucky Summer: Nothing fancy about these picks; these two look best in this field. Michael Beychok,, "Check out Chok's Choices for Saturday, Jan. 23, Fair Grounds races," 22 Jan. 2021 Meanwhile, he recently got tagged with being a hypocrite for attending a lobbyist friend’s birthday dinner with several other unmasked couples at a fancy wine country restaurant, the French Laundry. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Newsom shouldn’t ignore an effort to recall him. Here’s how he can fight it," 28 Dec. 2020 Critics quickly noted the disconnect between dining at such a fancy restaurant when so many Californians are unemployed. Kathleen Ronayne, Star Tribune, "California's Newsom still on hot seat for dinner party," 18 Nov. 2020 Many of us won't be putting airline tickets on our credit card or using plastic to pick up the tab for a big holiday dinner at a fancy restaurant with the extended family. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Credit card balances drop, giving room for holidays. Here are ways to pay," 12 Nov. 2020 These were easy recipes, not all-day affairs, though turning the Italian wedding soup with turkey meatballs recipe into dinner for two on Christmas Eve was an easy choice: fancy and festive and just different enough to feel special. Joe Ray, Wired, "Sick and Tired of Meal Prep? Let a Newsletter Decide for You," 31 Jan. 2021 Doesn't require any equipment: This low-impact movement can be done safely on the floor and doesn't require fancy equipment. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Good Housekeeping, "How to Perform the Superman Exercise Correctly, According to a Fitness Expert," 27 Jan. 2021 Sorel, a brand known for tough-yet-cute winter footwear, is introducing The Great Wedge Event, featuring 40% off almost all wedges on the site, including both fancy and more practical boots and booties. Chelsea Stone, CNN Underscored, "The best sales to shop today: AirPods Pro, Aerogarden, Sorel and more," 18 Nov. 2020 No fancy equipment needed, but Ms. Scheck recommends baking or roasting the vegetables before the class begins. Adriana Balsamo, New York Times, "Nurture Your Plants and Your Kid’s Curiosity," 7 Nov. 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

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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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