fan·​cy | \ ˈfan(t)-sē \
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 \ adverb
fanciness \ ˈfan(t)-​sē-​nəs \ 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

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 Before going to a movie, film lovers might fancy some refreshments. George Avalos,, "MoviePass plans to track users' locations before and after movies and offer suggestions," 6 Mar. 2018 Brazil will now meet the winners of Monday's later match between Belgium and Japan, but after seeing Argentina, Spain and Portugal eliminated in the last 16, Tite's men will fancy their chances. Justin Davis,, "Stylish Neymar steers Brazil past Mexico and into World Cup quarters," 2 July 2018 If Pochettino really fancies acquiring the services of Mina and wants Spurs to force the issue, then the London club might be forced to pay the Colombian's release clause at Barcelona -which currently stands at £88m., "Mauricio Pochettino Keen on Signing Colombia World Cup Star After Impressive Performances in Russia," 8 July 2018 Murphy plays the character as a suitably humorless waif, a fair match in zealotry, dumb cunning and cat-fancying sentimentality for the swaggering Padraic. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore': Theater Review," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Blue Origin is an independent company that Bezos founded to work on space travel, and its New Shepard vehicle is a rocket with a passenger capsule attached at the tip, intended primarily to facilitate the fancies of well-off tourists. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "A ticket on Jeff Bezos’ space tourism rocket will cost at least $200,000," 13 July 2018 If your fantasies are five-star fancy, agritourism probably isn’t for you. Lindsay Cohn, USA TODAY, "Agriturismo, American style: 8 farm and food experiences in the USA," 15 June 2018 It was created with Clinique's fancy, auto-replenishing technology that helps skin create an internal water source to continuously rehydrate itself throughout the day. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "The Best Beauty Deals From the Macy's Fall VIP Sale," 21 Sep. 2018 The Gastrograph would not merely suggest that a seltzer be grapefruit flavored, for instance, but how to tweak its floral, fruity, bitter, and sour dimensions to captivate the fancy of Northeastern millennial guys, or German ladies over forty. Michelle Weber, Longreads, "Great News Everyone, We’ll Never Have Shared Food Experiences Ever Again," 15 May 2018 The group latches onto anything that catches the omnivorous musical fancy of founder and artistic director David Harrington, and brings it into the orbit of the string quartet world — or better still, goes forth to meet it halfway. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Kronos Festival is an eclectic treat," 28 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There is nothing fancy, expensive, or luxurious about a pair of ugly woolen hygge socks—and that is a vital feature of hygge. Anne Roderique-jones, SELF, "I Practiced Hygge and It's Kind of the Best Thing Ever," 25 Dec. 2018 To picture Monahan and Paolini anywhere else was sort of impossible; that space mirrored the low-key, vaguely bohemian vibe of their collections, and there was something charming about the un-fancy zip code. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Sea’s Beautiful New Store Will Change the Way You Shop on Canal Street—And It’s Here Just in Time for the Holidays," 21 Dec. 2018 Every one of Anne’s flights of fancy finds a thrilling and ingenious visual representation. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Book Review: Classics Illustrated," 16 Nov. 2018 This casual-yet-fancy shoe pleases my Cali-girl soul. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: Sam Edelman's Block Heel Mule Sandals," 14 Nov. 2018 Bullet trains, pod hotels, robot stage shows, vending machines for exotic hot drinks, white-gloved cab drivers, Japanese whiskey, orderly queues and fancy, high-tech toilets being only the most obvious. Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With Kusama Museum and art-filled islands, Japan is a paradise for art nerds," 27 Apr. 2018 Getty ImagesWPA Pool The royal family isn’t all just frolicking at weddings in fancy hats and attending super fun public events—there’s serious money involved in every aspect of their lives. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Why Prince Harry Inherited More Money Than Prince William When Their Great-Grandmother Died," 9 Aug. 2018 Watching Netflix in new PJs while diffusing essential oils, drinking wine, and nibbling from a fancy cheese plate? Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "16 Things From Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale I Want for Self-Care Sunday," 20 July 2018 And, as with all things royal, there were many many fancy hats. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "See Every Photo of the Royal Family at Prince Louis' Christening," 9 July 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

25 Nov 2018

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)

: to take pleasure in (something)

: to consider (someone or something) likely to win or succeed

: 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 \
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

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