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

The infielder is the kind of hitter the Dodgers fancy: a bopper with elite plate discipline. Los Angeles Times, "Max Muncy expected to miss two weeks with wrist fracture; Dodgers fall to Diamondbacks," 30 Aug. 2019 Some awards shows are a must-see for the competition, some for the talent and performances, and some are a requirement if oyu fancy yourself a fashion and beauty aficionado. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "The Beauty Looks We Loved From The MTV VMAs Red Carpet," 26 Aug. 2019 Gergiev does not fancy himself any kind of cultural ambassador. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: For Putin-backed conductor Valery Gergiev, boos and cheers at Bayreuth and Salzburg," 21 Aug. 2019 Today, at least three younger Tamil film stars fancy their chances as successors. The Economist, "Why India’s south confounds the otherwise all-conquering Narendra Modi," 21 June 2019 Despite the mental exhaustion that comes along with being in contention at a major, Koepka fancies himself in better shape physically this year than last. Shawn Mcfarland,, "Two-time U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka plans to approach Travelers Championship like its a major," 19 June 2019 As recently as last August, Lucas Finnessy fancied himself as a basketball player at the next level. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Minnesota recruit and all-state defender, Lucas Finnessy does it all for Sussex Hamilton," 10 Aug. 2019 Simon Stacpoole/OffsideGetty Images Ever fancied yourself a royal confidante? Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "You Could Literally Be Neighbors With Prince William and Kate Middleton Now That This Norfolk House Is Up For Rent," 5 Aug. 2019 There are endless garnishes and sides to fancy things up, but regardless of presentation, banh cuon is typically enjoyed with a drizzle of or dunk into nuoc cham, the ubiquitous Viet tangy dipping sauce. Andrea Nguyen,, "Banh cuon 101: Everything you need to know about Vietnamese rice sheets," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The company’s ambition is partly to capture the fancy of the Gen Z and millennial crowd, some of whom turn on captions on other forms of media and who eschew typical reading. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "Audible will let you 'read' an audiobook while you listen," 15 July 2019 The two of you can enjoy flights of fancy in the week ahead that could inspire new goals. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for Aug. 18, 2019: Happy birthday Portland native Kaitlin Olson; Cancer be strictly pragmatic," 18 Aug. 2019 Schulz – who collected words that amused him – was continually experimenting with his cast of characters, and one canary-yellow bird kept emerging as a fun foil to Snoopy, the beagle prone to flights of fancy. Michael Cavna, Twin Cities, "How Charles Schulz finally named that bird Woodstock after the 1969 music festival," 18 Aug. 2019 Few things are more subject to change and passing fancies than dietary advice. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "How to Prevent Food Allergies," 24 July 2019 Republicans and conservatives long have been consumed with the fancy that hordes of Americans are moving heaven and earth to obtain SNAP benefits fraudulently. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Trump’s plan to throw 3 million people off food stamps shows his cruelty to the poor," 23 July 2019 If a dude ranch experience strikes your fancy, try Historic Moose Head Ranch, an all-inclusive property with unlimited horse riding, trout fishing and log cabins with unobstructed views of the Tetons. Amy Tara Koch, Dallas News, "These four mountain getaways are worth a peak," 13 Aug. 2019 If a dude ranch experience strikes your fancy, try Historic Moose Head Ranch, an all-inclusive property with unlimited horse riding, trout fishing and log cabins with unobstructed views of the Tetons. Amy Tara Koch, The Know, "Mountain getaways outside of Colorado that are worthy of a summer vacation," 24 July 2019 If a dude ranch experience strikes your fancy, try Historic Moose Head Ranch, an all-inclusive property with unlimited horse riding, trout fishing and log cabins with unobstructed views of the Tetons. Amy Tara Koch, Washington Post, "Life’s more than a beach. Four mountain towns to visit this summer.," 19 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There’s also Sorry to Bother You’s Lakeith Stanfield as a low-key police detective, and Daniel Craig as the fancy private P.I. brought in under special, anonymous circumstances to audit the investigation. Leah Greenblatt,, "All-star murder mystery Knives Out is a bloody clever good time," 10 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, Jenner, 23, opted for a fancier look, wearing a skin-tight neon green mini dress with pointed toe heels and a fringed clutch. Georgia Slater,, "Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Enjoy Night Out in L.A. with Kendall Jenner and Khloé Kardashian," 10 Aug. 2019 This attractive, family-friendly rural lodge is comfortable and clean with large rooms and is more practical than fancy. Rosemary Mcclure,, "Hotels near Yosemite that won't blow your budget," 30 June 2019 That delay is a key issue because in the meantime pirate sites will produce very fancy translated versions in 4K quality. Gavin J. Blair, The Hollywood Reporter, "Shanghai: Fuji TV Exec Talks Growing Japan-China Business, "Incredible" Success of 'Terrace House'," 15 June 2019 Pam and Alida wore proper matching bathing suits with skirts that Tonne and I, clad in our unisex bathing trunks, thought very fancy. Wendy Goodman, ELLE Decor, "Averell Harriman’s Legendary Long Island Home Sparked One Editor's Lifelong Love of Design," 22 May 2019 The fanciest commercial outfitters now provide walk-in wall tents with beds, unlimited electricity through gasoline generators, hot showers, strong reliable Wi-Fi, projectors for after-dinner movies, and even dedicated tents for yoga and stretching. National Geographic, "Here's what it's like to live at Everest base camp," 16 May 2019 Getting there will require some of the fanciest flying in the space agency's history and NASA has just started publicly discussing how Lucy will navigate its way through some of the oldest asteroids in the solar system. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inside NASA's Wildly Complex Plan to Navigate Jupiter's Asteroid Fields," 21 Dec. 2018 Those events happened more than 100 years ago — but in the book, one of those fancy, feather hats is worn every year in a local pageant for girls. Washington Post, "Feathers brings friends together in Celia C. Pérez’s ‘Strange Birds’," 11 Sep. 2019

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

30 Sep 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


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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