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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Both fancy themselves cold and calculating grifters, but are not prepared to play on the level at which Lalo and Mike exist. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 12 July 2022 Then again, who wouldn’t fancy a 6-foot-11 left-hander who can snatch a rebound, create his own fast break and either pull up for a 3-pointer, deliver a precise pass or drive for a dunk? New York Times, 6 July 2022 Many fancy the use of legislation with quotas to improve board diversity. Patricia Lenkov, Forbes, 15 June 2022 Up in England, United aren't the only Manchester club who fancy De Jong, with Premier PINC +1.4% League champions Manchester City also admirers of the ex-Ajax promise. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 26 May 2022 The key ingredient in every recipe, though, is always us: the people who fancy themselves the arbiters of what makes a dog a dog. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 28 Apr. 2022 Although rival Barcelona is compiling some enviable players in central areas, and Atlético Madrid will stick around near the top, Real will fancy another league title if Tchouameni is available for selection when August comes. Henry Flynn, Forbes, 2 June 2022 In the same way that some true crime enthusiasts fancy themselves amateur, independent investigators, some are drawn in by watching someone else make an extreme choice, like going on the run with a criminal, Vicary said. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 7 May 2022 If Yungblud led a cult, many would join — even those who fancy themselves hard to persuade. Maria Sherman, SPIN, 2 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From there, your flights of fancy can come to fruition. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 28 July 2022 But there was something about the situation in the Beehive State that struck his fancy. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 May 2022 The one that really caught our fancy was her class on chewy chapatis; aromatic beef, chicken, or vegetable curry; and ugali with steamed cabbage. Bon Appétit, 13 May 2022 Peter Sellers couldn’t have concocted a more deranged flight of fancy. Lorraine Alitelevision Critic, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2022 The Wildcat's interior is show-car fancy, with exotic-looking seats that would be appropriate in a Ferrari, maybe, but in a Buick SUV? Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, 1 June 2022 Choose one of our classic cocktails like our Mary Pickford or East Bayside for a fancy (but easy) drink sure to standout. Taylor Worden, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2022 Whether smokescreen, negotiating tactic, genuine concern or flight of fancy, Mr. Musk’s insistence that Twitter is overrun by spam bots has upended a deal that was eccentric from the outset and left both sides in difficult positions. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, 18 May 2022 The book is a parable so rich in flights, ahem, of fancy that it has been adapted over the decades into plays, musicals, movies, operas, graphic novels and games. New York Times, 11 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Cinzia Presti, 24 and UC graduate student, hauls out the fancy technology stuff to track what the team is digging up., 4 Aug. 2022 If this setting — on a hillside villa overlooking Sicilian grandeur, with fancy clothes and new friends for Tanya — seems escapist, well, Tanya has plenty to escape. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 4 Aug. 2022 Located near Spaceport America in Sierra County, the fancy new site will be the first of its kind used exclusively by future astronauts and members of the public ahead of their spaceflight. Dana Givens, Robb Report, 3 Aug. 2022 These characters are helpfully identified by flashing supertitles splashed across the screen, though many of them hardly live long enough to enjoy their fancy signage. Leah Greenblatt,, 2 Aug. 2022 These workouts aren't filled with fancy moves or tons of high-tech equipment; Blakely says that the training is simple. Brett Williams, Men's Health, 2 Aug. 2022 The novel gets its title from the cruellest month, in psychoanalytic terms, when many therapists, especially the fancy Manhattan ones, tend to take their vacations. Hannah Gold, The New Yorker, 2 Aug. 2022 Just a note about fancy cat food for a minute: My cats would routinely drink from the toilet, lick their anuses in public and leave dead rodents on the bed, so, like, these aren’t exactly finishing school graduates. David Goldman, CNN, 1 Aug. 2022 As is often the case with pet gadgets, not all models are created equal: Where some pet food dispensers simply deposit kibble so many times a day, others come with fancy extras like Wi-Fi connectivity, cameras, and mobile apps. Sara Coughlin, SELF, 1 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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


Middle English fantasien, fantesien, fancyen "to plan, devise, create, form (an idea), imagine (something false), desire," in part derivative of fantasie, fantsy, fansey fancy entry 2, in part borrowed from Middle French fantasier "to imagine, invent," verbal derivative of fantasie fantasy entry 1


Middle English fantasie, fantsy, fansey "the imagination as a faculty, mental image produced by this faculty, deluded notion, figment of the imagination, preference directed by caprice rather than reason, liking" — more at fantasy entry 1

Note: The disyllabic form, a rare variant of fantasie fantasy entry 1 in Middle English, became more common and began to separate in sense from fantasie/fantasy in early Modern English.


from attributive use of fancy entry 2

Learn More About fancy

Time Traveler for fancy

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

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Dictionary Entries Near fancy



fancy bread

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Last Updated

24 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for fancy


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 Wonderful 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

More from Merriam-Webster on fancy

Nglish: Translation of fancy for Spanish Speakers

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


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