tending or intending to impress: a fancy degree in geophysics;fancy four-syllable words.
complicated or difficult to perform or execute: a couple doing some fancy footwork on the dance floor.
made, designed, grown, adapted, etc., to please the taste or fancy; of superfine quality or exceptional appeal: fancy goods; fancy fruits.
bred to develop points of beauty or excellence, as an animal.
much too costly; exorbitant or extravagant: a consultant who charges fancy fees.
imagination or fantasy, especially as exercised in a capricious manner.
the artistic ability of creating unreal or whimsical imagery, decorative detail, etc., as in poetry or drawing.
a mental image or conception: He had happy fancies of being a famous actor.
an idea or opinion with little foundation; illusion: Her belief that she can sing is a mere fancy.
capricious preference; inclination; a liking: to take a fancy to walking barefoot in the streets.
critical judgment; taste.
the breeding of animals to develop points of beauty or excellence.
the fancy, Archaic. people deeply interested in a sport, art, etc.
Obsolete. sexual love.
to form a conception of; picture to oneself: Fancy living with that egotist all your life!
to believe without being absolutely sure or certain: I fancy you are my new neighbor.
to take a liking to; like: I really fancy the spotted one in that litter.
to want or desire: I fancy another piece of cake.
to breed to develop a special type of animal.
Also fancy that . (used as an exclamation of mild surprise): They invited you, too? Fancy!
fancy up, to make superficially showy by way of improvement: an old car fancied up with a bright new paint job.
The original meaning of fancy, “individual preference or liking, arbitrary inclination,” as in “to take a fancy to someone,” was only one of several meanings of Middle English fantasie, a technical word in the psychology of scholasticism (the system of theological and philosophical teaching and disputation predominant in the Middle Ages, based chiefly upon the authority of the Bible, of the church fathers, and of Aristotle and his pagan, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish commentators).
The adjective fancy, meaning “fine, ornamental,” did not appear until 1753; it developed from attributive use of the noun in the sense “designed to please the taste or fancy.”
- fan·ci·ness, noun
- un·fan·cy, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use fancy in a sentence
From stocking stuffers to the world's fanciest food processor, gifts for cooks of every age and experience level.
One of Kate's gynecologists delivers exclusively at London's fanciest maternity hospital, The Portland.Too Posh to Push: Inside Kate's Exclusive London Maternity Hospital | Tom Sykes | December 7, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
With respect to restaurants, I tend not to like the fanciest places.Overrated/Underrated: Food, Glorious and Otherwise | Michael Tomasky | June 1, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
The rest shows up only in the fanciest of fancy sushi restaurants.Radioactive Tuna Won’t Kill You—but Should We Be Concerned About Mercury? | Daniel Stone | May 30, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
At that rate, even the fanciest steak dinner would still be a bargain by comparison.Forget the Starbucks Backlash—We Should Be Eating More Bugs | Daniel Stone | April 24, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
He was going through his fanciest evolutions when he passed me.Witch Winnie's Mystery, or The Old Oak Cabinet | Elizabeth W. Champney
The coffee roasts well, and has a heavy body, similar to the fanciest Mexicans and Colombians.All About Coffee | William H. Ukers
That's our fanciest place where the food starts at ten dollars.Probability | Louis Trimble
It was the fanciest and most expensive screwdriver you ever saw.The Trouble with Telstar | John Berryman
Jake Tuttle is there with the four children, buying them the fanciest of footgear for the morrow.Green Valley | Katharine Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for fancy
not plain; ornamented or decorative: a fancy cake; fancy clothes
requiring skill to perform; intricate: a fancy dance routine
arising in the imagination; capricious or illusory
(often used ironically) superior in quality or impressive: a fancy course in business administration
higher than expected: fancy prices
(of a domestic animal) bred for particular qualities
a sudden capricious idea; whim
a sudden or irrational liking for a person or thing
the power to conceive and represent decorative and novel imagery, esp in poetry. Fancy was held by Coleridge to be more casual and superficial than imagination: See imagination (def. 4)
an idea or thing produced by this
a mental image
taste or judgment, as in art of dress
Also called: fantasy, fantasia music a composition for solo lute, keyboard, etc, current during the 16th and 17th centuries
the fancy archaic those who follow a particular sport, esp prize fighting
to picture in the imagination
to suppose; imagine: I fancy it will rain
(often used with a negative) to like: I don't fancy your chances!
(reflexive) to have a high or ill-founded opinion of oneself: he fancied himself as a doctor
informal to have a wish for; desire: she fancied some chocolate
British informal to be physically attracted to (another person)
to breed (animals) for particular characteristics
Also: fancy that! an exclamation of surprise or disbelief
- fancily, adverb
- fanciness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other Idioms and Phrases with fancy
see flight of fancy; footloose and fancy-free; take a fancy to; tickle one's fancy;.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.