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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Both men fancy themselves to be contrarians and enjoy philosophical conversations. Brian Stelter, CNN, "As Tucker Carlson justifies violence, Fox News is paying him $10 million a year," 27 Aug. 2020 Fermentation vessels range from glass carboys to fancy stainless steel tanks and beyond, but the best place to start is with a simple food-grade plastic bucket and a lid like this one from Home Brew Ohio. Parker Hall, Wired, "Everything You Need To Make Beer, Wine, Cider, and Mead," 11 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Below is an extensive round-up of the best product picks that are sure to catch your father’s fancy, and that ship painlessly to his front door. Malia Griggs, SELF, "19 Delightful Gifts for Your Dad You Can Buy on Amazon," 3 Oct. 2020 If sushi tickles your fancy, investigate offerings at Wa Sushi, Kabooki Sushi, Bayridge Sushi or Sushi Pop. Patrick Connolly,, "Labor Day in Orlando: Ways to relax this holiday weekend around Central Florida," 4 Sep. 2020 If sushi tickles your fancy, investigate offerings at Wa Sushi, Kabooki Sushi, Bayridge Sushi or Sushi Pop. Patrick Connolly,, "Labor Day in Orlando: Ways to relax this holiday weekend around Central Florida," 4 Sep. 2020 If sushi tickles your fancy, investigate offerings at Wa Sushi, Kabooki Sushi, Bayridge Sushi or Sushi Pop. Patrick Connolly,, "Labor Day in Orlando: Ways to relax this holiday weekend around Central Florida," 4 Sep. 2020 If sushi tickles your fancy, investigate offerings at Wa Sushi, Kabooki Sushi, Bayridge Sushi or Sushi Pop. Patrick Connolly,, "Labor Day in Orlando: Ways to relax this holiday weekend around Central Florida," 4 Sep. 2020 If the goodies in Meowbox strike your cat’s fancy, subscribing is the best way to get their new and unique toys. Tessa Bahoosh, USA TODAY, "9 subscription boxes you need if you love cats," 1 Sep. 2020 Biden did not want this grand framing of his candidacy to be understood as a flight of poetic fancy. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "Night and Day," 26 Aug. 2020 Include lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, cucumbers and whatever other veggies strike your child's fancy. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are some ways to make school lunch special, in the classroom, in the socially distant cafeteria or at home," 22 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Though this isn't as fancy as the Razer Blade, this is an even cheaper deal that has a larger 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and a fast processor for well under $2,000. Tj Donegan, USA TODAY, "These are the best PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch deals at Amazon," 14 Oct. 2020 Gone are big fancy buffets and large groups eating around a few large tables. Joe Flint, WSJ, "Fewer Fistfights, Less Sex—TV Production Gets a Covid Makeover," 13 Oct. 2020 She is educated, cool, urbane, fluent, and upper-middle class, contemptuous of a woman’s right to red nails and fancy duds. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, "The United States of Dolly Parton," 12 Oct. 2020 With a ferociously fancy feline accent pillow like that, even William Blake could frame this bad boy’s symmetry, fearful or not., "Corona Couch Confidential: Nap on Gilded Couches," 12 Oct. 2020 He’s not one to bother with fancy architectural tops. Blair Kamin,, "Column: City’s tallest office building in 30 years opens along Chicago River, mixing drama and banality," 9 Oct. 2020 The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, with its lush green lawns and fancy Greek houses, is a world apart from the concrete high-rises at the university system's Birmingham campus nearly 60 miles away. Washington Post, "One Alabama university stayed safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Another, 60 miles away, struggled.," 8 Oct. 2020 As often as not the job calls for a fancy pedigree that may include an advanced degree from an Ivy institution, a facility with languages, and manners that rival those of a marquise. New York Times, "Mary Poppins Returns! Some Modern Families Seek a Governess," 8 Oct. 2020 Think fancy Japanese soy sauce, Red Boat fish sauce and Argentinian blue steel pans. Janelle Bitker,, "The Anchovy Bar, a State Bird Provisions spin-off, opens today in San Francisco," 8 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.

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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

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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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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