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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 For those who feel the draw to fancy robes over sweatpants or yoga gear, there is a new sustainably minded brand on the market. Harper's BAZAAR, "Sign Us Up for This Sustainable PETA-Approved "Silk" Robe Brand," 24 Sep. 2020 Friedman’s argument that corporations should dedicate themselves to their business rather than social activism was, and remains, controversial to people who are uninterested in business but fancy themselves social-justice activists. Richard Morrison, National Review, "Can We Afford to Let Left-Wing Activists Ignore Their Social Responsibilities?," 21 Sep. 2020 If Coastal Elites didn’t fancy itself a treatise on the state of American political discourse, these artistic offenses might be more forgivable. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Dangerous Naïveté of Coastal Elites," 12 Sep. 2020 Lodgings come in all sizes and for every length of stay, no security deposit required, from a grotty single bed for the night to fancy permanent quarters for a colony. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "Is Staying In Staying Safe?," 31 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If none of those suit your fancy, go classic with one of the seven essential cocktails every drinker should know how to make. Washington Post, "How big a turkey should I buy? That and other Thanksgiving FAQs answered.," 17 Nov. 2020 Meredith’s mental beach trip wasn’t some fleeting flight of fancy. Ariana Romero,, "Holy Sh*t, That Grey’s Anatomy Character Is Back. Here’s What It Means," 13 Nov. 2020 The brand's latest debut is the Ilene loafers, made in Italian leather or suede, depending on your fancy. Rachel King, Fortune, "Must-have gadgets and accessories for safer winter (and pandemic) travel," 6 Nov. 2020 And if none of these strike your fancy, check out our guides on face masks that give back, face masks for kids and how to clean your face mask too. Elizabeth Wallace, CNN Underscored, "From stylish to silly: Face masks for every personality," 5 Nov. 2020 Leave all things for a while, leave all such pleasures that tickle your fancy at idle moments. Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books, "An Incandescent Inanity," 3 Nov. 2020 Empathy needs intellect to become more than a passing fancy. Los Angeles Times, "No matter who wins the election, artists will be called upon to repair a broken nation," 30 Oct. 2020 And, if the ideas below don’t strike your fancy, check our Recipe Finder for more options. Washington Post, "Take cranberries beyond the Thanksgiving table with these 6 recipes," 22 Oct. 2020 If nothing on the White Mystery 420 bill catches your fancy, revel in the continued magnificence of the Chicago scene with a pair of essential livestreams today, from V.V. Lightbody and Ganser. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Lyric Opera cancels rest of season: The latest coronavirus entertainment news in Chicago," 23 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Dendrochronology is a fancy word for tree-ring dating, where the age of a tree can be determined by the number of growth rings across its trunk. Tim Childers, Popular Mechanics, "Far-Off Supernovas Caused Climate Change on Earth, According to Tree Rings," 16 Nov. 2020 Despite this iconic shade, the flat and its surrounding area are both deeply fancy. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Diana Had the "Happiest Time of Life" Living with Her Friends in London," 15 Nov. 2020 Snakes are well known for their sneaky slithering, but five species are prone to literal flights of fancy. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Flying Snakes Need to Wriggle Through the Air to Glide," 2 July 2020 There may even be some adults who might think this kid’s car is too fancy for them. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Hyundai Just Made an Electric Car for Kids That Can Read Their Emotions," 5 Nov. 2020 Manderley is extremely fancy, and all of Mr. de Winter’s servants line up on the lawn to receive the happy couple. Emma Specter, Vogue, "38 Thoughts I Had While Watching Netflix’s Rebecca," 23 Oct. 2020 Controls aren’t fancy or digital — just set the temp and timer to get going. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "The best air fryer deals from Prime Day 2020," 14 Oct. 2020 The place wasn’t at all fancy — this was basic, simple French fare. David Tanis, New York Times, "A Taste of France Without Venturing Too Far," 9 Oct. 2020 The Washington workers deep inside the White House who keep America’s first family safe and comfortable, fancy and fed, work equally hard throughout the churn of administrations, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year after year. Washington Post, "The White House’s loyal workforce isn’t getting much loyalty from the first family," 5 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fancy

Time Traveler for fancy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fancy

Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!