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


Which horse do you fancy in the Derby? try to fancy, if you can, our mother on an elephant when she was touring India


His plans to build a new stadium are the product of pure fancy. Critics have dismissed his plan as mere fancy.


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

One person is after carpets (spoilt for choice), another wants towels (ditto), someone else fancies a playful headdress for tonight’s party, and another is focused on Turkish delight. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Attends Serdar Gülgün’s Opulent Ottoman Ball in Istanbul," 4 Feb. 2019 Current Form Japan weren't fancied going in given their sketchy immediate form., "World Cup Preview: Japan vs Senegal - Recent Form, Team News, Predictions & More," 23 June 2018 Things did not get much better for Gomes at Spurs after that season - he was loaned out to Hoffenheim for the 2012/13 campaign, before returning to the club in 2013/14 under Andre Villas-Boas who, like Redknapp, didn't fancy him., "Watford Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes Claims Former Teammate Luka Modric Told Him to Quit Spurs," 10 Apr. 2018 Possible Route to the Final Argentina should still fancy its chances to win the group., "Argentina's World Cup Fate Tough to Peg Despite Messi, Star-Studded Squad," 2 June 2018 Leland, meanwhile, fancies himself a kind of Holden Caulfield type, too smart for this life, able to see the phonies in a world of hypocrisy. New York Times, "This Novel Opens With a Suicide and a Suitcase of Cash. Then Things Get Really Interesting.," 21 June 2018 Not bad for a guy who, as a high schooler, fancied himself a better basketball power forward than football player. Rich Campbell,, "Roquan Smith's Bears introduction could be the start of something big," 28 Apr. 2018 Luis Enrique, Roberto Martinez, Michel, Rafael Benitez and Quique Sanchez Flores are among the options fancied by bookmakers., "Jose Molina Named New RFEF Sporting Director as Spain Prepare to Announce New Coach," 9 July 2018 However, his prospects for starring in Brazil's much fancied side at the World Cup in Russia, which runs from June 14 to July 15, look much better. Chicago Tribune,, "Neymar says out of action until at least May 17," 17 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Plenty of kids have toy pianos — though maybe not ones this fancy — but the toy harp is much more unique. Olivia Harrison,, "Every Celeb Kid Is Strumming On This Quaint Fairytale Instrument, But Why?," 12 July 2018 No matter what your fancy, this guide to Shibuya covers it all. Davey Young, Condé Nast Traveler, "What To Do in Shibuya: Our Guide," 5 Mar. 2018 Whatever your fancy, plan on posting up here for an entire afternoon. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "For Authentic Ibiza, Visit in the Winter," 15 Feb. 2019 Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Miranda Kerr, and Gisele Bündchen among them—have all graduated to lucrative second acts as entrepreneurs, hosts, and whatever else strikes their fancy, surely Lima isn’t stepping out of the spotlight just yet. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Adriana Lima Shut Down the Victoria’s Secret Runway With Her Epic Final Walk," 9 Nov. 2018 Basic mulching blade: Nothing fancy here, a basic mulching blade with enough lift to keep grass particles suspended and recut. Fits a wide range of mowers. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "Do I Need To Change My Lawnmower Blades?," 22 Jan. 2019 Think red or green cabbage, carrots, dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens, shredded Brussels sprouts — anything that strikes your fancy). Carrie Dennett, The Seattle Times, "Grain bowls are trending. Here’s how to make your own.," 28 Nov. 2018 In it, our intrepid culture reporter and person-with-lots-of-opinions Sam Machkovech applies his critical eye to movies, books, TV, and anything else that catches his feisty fancy. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: What First Man does and doesn’t say about Neil Armstrong," 12 Oct. 2018 So yes, in other words, this is more than just a casual fancy for the two-time MVP. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "Steph Curry set for celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe: My game is 'way better' coming off a title," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

My mood: delighted with all my new creams, feeling fancy and cared for, happy to avoid a watery demise. Cotton Codinha, Allure, "In the Pursuit of Happiness, I Tried a Longer Skin-Care Routine," 25 Mar. 2019 So his circus cronies barge into a fancy party, with the Bearded Lady belting this song. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show sells a fantasy of empowerment. I sorta believed it.," 3 Dec. 2018 The crew created a makeshift art gallery to hang their drawings and haikus, played board games and faked fancy Saturday-night dinners together with the same packaged foods astronauts on the International Space Station eat. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Concord native flew space mission to an asteroid. Without leaving Houston.," 3 July 2018 Her daughter was alongside her with a matching umbrella; school-age children followed with fancy footwork and a child dressed in Mardi Gras Indian mask from the Black Flame Hunters was close by. Kevin Litten,, "New Mayor LaToya Cantrell takes office: New Orleans 'A city open to all'," 7 May 2018 Some fancy restaurants in and around New Delhi are doing away with plastic straws and replacing them with paper straws. Fox News, "In India, a trio of unlikely heroes wages war on plastic," 4 June 2018 Some fancy restaurants in and around New Delhi are doing away with plastic straws and replacing them with paper straws. The Christian Science Monitor, "In India, citizens are working together to reduce waste," 4 June 2018 Most people would bring a wine that is unabashedly fancy (think pricey Bordeaux or Burgundy) to try and impress, but that is never the right move. Kristin Tice Studeman, Vogue, "The Best Wine for Every Thanksgiving Scenario," 19 Nov. 2018 In reality, whatever is usually announced by James Levian and Steve Kaplan tends to be an arrangement of fancy terms that don't actually reveal anything explicitly., "Graham Potter's Swansea Revolution: Club's Latest Statement is a Massive Step in the Right Direction," 30 June 2018

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

Statistics for fancy

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fancy

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

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More Definitions for fancy



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
fanciness \ -​sē-​nəs \ noun


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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More from Merriam-Webster on fancy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fancy

Spanish Central: Translation of fancy

Nglish: Translation of fancy for Spanish Speakers

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

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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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