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 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 Not even a dreamy-eyed middle-school kid would fancy such a thing. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 San Jose, however, is still looking for more from its third and fourth lines, and that has to change if the team wants to fancy itself as a playoff contender. Ross Mckeon, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Nov. 2021 Optional chrome accent and black-out packages are available, as well as the Aerodynamic package for those who fancy and even sportier look. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 28 Oct. 2021 For those who don't fancy a beer, 10 different cocktails will be offered, including a blackberry, rosemary and rye sipper and a seasonally appropriate pomegranate and apple cider margarita served with a cinnamon sugar rim. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 18 Nov. 2021 So actual pros, or people who fancy themselves pros, will probably want to investigate these cameras. Brian Barrett, Wired, 17 Nov. 2021 In true New York style, there are a range of options, from no-frills to fancy. New York Times, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The zoo has 5 biomes: the desert, flights of fancy, the forests, the oceans and the plains. Alexi Eastes, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Apr. 2022 And that brings us to the other place Vettel’s flight of fancy and reality collide: the track itself. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 May 2022 And with that, Bartlett offers a reminder of why his play is not mere fancy: The Donald really won’t go away. Demetrios Matheou, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective With a multi-ingredient dish like that, take the fancy restaurant approach and deconstruct it. Susan Shain, Washington Post, 18 May 2022 Some of the students were mesmerized by his gaudy clothes and fancy car. San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Apr. 2022 The fancy-car frenzy that once started at 8 a.m. and fizzled out by 10 now began at 10 and went on well into midday. Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct. 2021 Until this year, a top college athlete driving a fancy new car to campus might have been seen as a sign of corruption. Laine Higgins, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 Hill got in some work in during his COVID quarantine, but nothing too fancy. Globe Staff,, 14 May 2022 Nothing fancy about that, and many people loved to stare at it. Donna Reiner, The Arizona Republic, 13 May 2022 While quarantining at a fancy hotel, the cast and crew of an action movie franchise try to shoot a sequel. Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2022 Nothing too fancy, just a nice story to pass the time. Andy Meek, BGR, 31 Mar. 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

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 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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