characterized by or showing fancy; capricious or whimsical in appearance: a fanciful design of butterflies and flowers.
suggested by fancy; imaginary; unreal: fanciful lands of romance.
led by fancy rather than by reason and experience; whimsical: a fanciful mind.

Origin of fanciful

First recorded in 1620–30; fancy + -ful
Related formsfan·ci·ful·ly, adverbfan·ci·ful·ness, nouno·ver·fan·ci·ful, adjectiveo·ver·fan·ci·ful·ly, adverbo·ver·fan·ci·ful·ness, nounun·fan·ci·ful, adjective

Synonyms for fanciful Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fanciful

Contemporary Examples of fanciful

Historical Examples of fanciful

  • The fable is fanciful and pleasing in itself; but will it not hereafter be believed as reality?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • The thing was incomprehensible to Tip, and altogether a fanciful notion.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • He found, when he looked up, that this sensation was not a fanciful one.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • He did not like to offer her money, but a pretty, fanciful idea occurred to him.

  • We must separate the fanciful from the real, or at least make the one subservient to the other.

British Dictionary definitions for fanciful



not based on fact; dubious or imaginaryfanciful notions
made or designed in a curious, intricate, or imaginative way
indulging in or influenced by fancy; whimsical
Derived Formsfancifully, adverbfancifulness, 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

Word Origin and History for fanciful

1620s, from fancy (n.) + -ful. Related: Fancifully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper