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 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 These 45 healthy dessert recipes run the gamut, from the fancy to the simple and everything in between. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "45 Healthy Dessert Recipes for Every Craving," 24 Dec. 2020 The tweaks and inflections of genre and tone extend to the nuts and bolts of a police investigation and the fancy of a Renaissance fair. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Twenty-five of the Best Films on Amazon Prime," 23 Dec. 2020 Buying Booking right now seems like a flight of fancy. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Booking Investors Should Have More Reservations," 21 Dec. 2020 Be sure to take a trip up Armstrong Parkway, and follow your fancy down any of the intersecting streets. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "A guide for seeing Christmas lights in Dallas," 5 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective One friend dropped off a big bottle of fancy craft beer. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Zoom Book Tours: 5 Authors on Publishing in a Pandemic," 1 Jan. 2021 And New Year’s Eve the month after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 found many skipping the fancy balls and gathering instead for special evening church services. Michael Wilson, New York Times, "This Is How New Yorkers Will Remember a Year They Can’t Wait to Forget," 31 Dec. 2020 But champagne, a favorite at events, nightclubs and fancy dinners, did not necessarily hold the same appeal as other wines for those in shutdown. Washington Post, "Fewer people than usual will pop bottles of bubbly at midnight. Pour one out for France’s Champagne region.," 31 Dec. 2020 One day, as the Wagoner tour bus headed to the next town, something caught Ms. Parton’s fancy. Eddie Dean, WSJ, "Here She Comes Again: Reading Dolly Parton," 31 Dec. 2020 Some of the ideas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests for celebrating safely include dressing up in fancy duds, decorating your home, having a family dance party, attending a virtual performance and making a special meal. Aidin Vaziri,, "New Year’s Eve parties could be ‘catastrophic,’ Bay Area officials warn," 30 Dec. 2020 Some iPhones might be listed as CDMA or GSM only, and these are just fancy terms for the type of antenna bands inside. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Used iPhones: A guide on where and how to buy one," 30 Dec. 2020 The original fancy ketchup is made with tomato concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, other spices and natural flavoring, according to the website. Nataly Keomoungkhoun, Dallas News, "Pickles, disappearing fish and amusement parks: 10 topics Curious Texas explored in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 Sean McVay apparently was not in the mood to trust Goff with anything fancy. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Jared Goff is Jameis Winston West, and that doesn’t bode well for Rams," 28 Dec. 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

14 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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

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