fan·​ta·​sy | \ ˈfan-tə-sē How to pronounce fantasy (audio) , -zē \
variants: or less commonly
plural fantasies

Definition of fantasy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need an object of fantasy also : a mental image or a series of mental images (such as a daydream) so created sexual fantasies
2 : a creation of the imaginative faculty whether expressed or merely conceived: such as
a : a chimerical or fantastic notion His plans are pure fantasy.
b : imaginative fiction featuring especially strange settings and grotesque characters spent the summer reading fantasy

called also fantasy fiction

c : fantasia sense 1 the organ fantasy of Johannes Brahms
d : a fanciful design or invention a fantasy of delicate tracery
3 : fancy especially : the free play of creative imagination
4 : caprice served to fulfill the king's fantasies
5 often attributive : a coin usually not intended for circulation as currency and often issued by a dubious authority (such as a government-in-exile)
6 obsolete : hallucination



Definition of fantasy (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, relating to, or being a game in which participants create and manage imaginary teams consisting of players from a particular sport and scoring is based on the statistical performances of the actual players fantasy football


fantasied; fantasying

Definition of fantasy (Entry 3 of 3)

Examples of fantasy in a Sentence

Noun His plans are pure fantasy. He can hardly tell the difference between fantasy and reality. His plans are just fantasies. Her fantasy is to be a film star. His plans are the product of pure fantasy. I spent my summer reading fantasies. Verb She regularly fantasied the moment of celebration after winning the gold medal. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun All of this exposes the fantasy that the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer policy mix of blowout spending and easy money is good for working Americans. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 May 2022 But subsequent research, authenticated by the Bavarian government, soon confirmed that Ms. Young would not be able to sell the piece, and fulfill the fantasy of anyone who has ever haunted Goodwill stores and yard sales for priceless treasures. Michael Levenson, New York Times, 6 May 2022 The fantasy of biotech meat is a dangerous distraction from the entrenched politics that made conventional meat production so ubiquitous in the first place, writes Michele Simon. Chloe Sorvino, Forbes, 6 May 2022 There’s the willful conflation of an actor, Depp, with his most famous and beloved role, Captain Jack Sparrow, the charismatic pirate — blurring the lines between his real life and the public’s fantasy. NBC News, 5 May 2022 But in the context of this Biennale’s driving emphasis on magic and the occult, his show reminds us uncomfortably of his infatuation with alchemy, the fantasy of turning base metals into gold or historical debacles into spiritual rebirth. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 In addition to pulling off some impressive choreography, the pair pose inside a saloon and take a spin in a car to complete the cowboy fantasy. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 29 Apr. 2022 The sweeping fantasy includes origin stories for other familiar Oz characters too. ELLE, 27 Apr. 2022 The traditional coastal grandmother is a person of unlimited means, but that’s the fantasy. Glamour, 26 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective All of these accidents, some less happy than others, led to what is now Hollywood’s biggest non-fantasy action series. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 22 June 2021 Martin's initial brilliance was to begin A Song of Ice and Fire as a kind of post-fantasy, where characters remember magic as a bygone possibility. Darren Franich,, 17 Apr. 2021 Divinity: Original Sin 2 Further Reading Ars Technica’s best video games of 2017 If the two of you are already fantasy role-playing veterans, try Divinity: Original Sin 2. Valentina Palladino And Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, 7 Feb. 2020 Injury concerns will continue to haunt him, but Cook (and his handcuff) will be fantasy gold for those with an early pick in 2020 drafts. Tony Holm, USA TODAY, 24 Dec. 2019 Allison was coming into his own during the 2018 season before suffering a season-ending injury, and now may find himself in position to be fantasy relevant again. John Romero, The Denver Post, 3 Oct. 2019 In most fantasy league setups, pass-rushing 3-4 OLBs like Khalil Mack and Von Miller are hugely devalued compared with linebackers who play in the middle. Ross Miles, Sports Illustrated, 21 June 2019 The rankings reflect overall fantasy value in a standard 12-team, point-per-reception (PPR) league. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 2 Aug. 2019 There's also a third Ameobi brother somewhere posing the very real and definitely not fantasy notion of the world's first three-man fraternal management team., 19 July 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fantasy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of fantasy


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


1984, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fantasy


Middle English fantasie, fantsy, fansey "the imagination as a faculty, mental image produced by this faculty, deluded notion, figment of the imagination, preference directed by caprice rather than reason, liking," borrowed from Anglo-French fantasie "imagination as a faculty, figment of the imagination, dizziness," borrowed from Late Latin phantasia "imagination as a faculty, mental image of something perceived physically, image evoked by a poet or orator, a thing imagined by someone sleeping or ill, delusion," going back to Latin, "imagined situation or experience," borrowed from Greek phantasía "appearance, presentation to consciousness (whether immediate or in memory), image, imagination as a faculty, imagery," noun derivative corresponding to phantázein "to make visible, present to the eye or mind, (middle voice) place before one's mind, picture to oneself, imagine," causative verb from phantós "visible," verbal adjective of phaínō, phaínein (active voice) "to bring to light, cause to appear," and phaínomai, phaínesthai (middle voice) "to become visible, come to light, appear," going back to *phan-i̯e/o-, thematized from Indo-European *bh-né-h2-/bh-n̥-h2- (whence also Armenian banam "(I) open, reveal"), nasal present from *bheh2- "shine, give light, appear," whence Sanskrit bhā́ti "(it) shines, beams," Avestan fra-uuāiti "(it) beams forth"; the verb is allied to nominal derivatives in -n-, as Germanic *bōnjan- (whence Old English bōn "ornament," gebōned "ornamented," Middle Dutch boenen "to scrub, polish"), Old Irish bán "white, fair, bright," Tocharian B peñiyo "splendor," Sanskrit bhānú- "light, beam, brilliance, appearance," Avestan bānu- "beam of light"

Note: Compare fancy entry 2, in Middle English a rare variant of fantasie; the two split from each other in early Modern English, so that fancy entry 2 and fantasy now differ in meaning and construction. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a not infrequent sense, usually with the spelling phantasy, was "the formation of images or representations in direct perception or in memory," more or less following the Greek meaning. — Regarding the relation of *bheh2- "shine, give light, appear" to the homonymous base *bheh2- "speak, say," see the note at ban entry 1.


from attributive use of fantasy entry 1


Middle English fantasien, fantesien, fancyen "to plan, devise, create, form (an idea), imagine (something false), desire" — more at fancy entry 1

Note: The word was originally a variant of fancy entry 1, which, together with the more recent derivative fantasize, has in large part supplanted it.

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

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fantasy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for fantasy


fan·​ta·​sy | \ ˈfan-tə-sē, -zē \
plural fantasies

Kids Definition of fantasy

1 : imagination sense 1 The plan was a product of pure fantasy.
2 : something produced by the imagination His fantasy is to win a million dollars.


variants: also phantasy \ ˈfant-​ə-​sē How to pronounce fantasy (audio) , -​zē How to pronounce fantasy (audio) \
plural fantasies

Medical Definition of fantasy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need an object of fantasy also : a mental image or a series of mental images (as a daydream) so created sexual fantasies of adolescence


variants: also phantasy
fantasied; fantasying

Medical Definition of fantasy (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on fantasy

Nglish: Translation of fantasy for Spanish Speakers

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


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