See more synonyms for fancy on
noun, plural fan·cies.
  1. imagination or fantasy, especially as exercised in a capricious manner.
  2. the artistic ability of creating unreal or whimsical imagery, decorative detail, etc., as in poetry or drawing.
  3. a mental image or conception: He had happy fancies of being a famous actor.
  4. an idea or opinion with little foundation; illusion: Her belief that she can sing is a mere fancy.
  5. a caprice; whim; vagary: It was his fancy to fly to Paris occasionally for dinner.
  6. capricious preference; inclination; a liking: to take a fancy to walking barefoot in the streets.
  7. critical judgment; taste.
  8. the breeding of animals to develop points of beauty or excellence.
  9. love.
  10. the fancy, Archaic. people deeply interested in a sport, art, etc.
adjective, fan·ci·er, fan·ci·est.
  1. made, designed, grown, adapted, etc., to please the taste or fancy; of superfine quality or exceptional appeal: fancy goods; fancy fruits.
  2. ornamental; decorative; not plain: a cake with a fancy icing.
  3. depending on imagination or caprice; whimsical; irregular: a fancy conception of time.
  4. bred to develop points of beauty or excellence, as an animal.
  5. much too costly; exorbitant or extravagant: a consultant who charges fancy fees.
verb (used with object), fan·cied, fan·cy·ing.
  1. to form a conception of; picture to oneself: Fancy living with that egotist all your life!
  2. to believe without being absolutely sure or certain: I fancy you are my new neighbor.
  3. to take a liking to; like.
  4. to breed to develop a special type of animal.
  1. (used as an exclamation of mild surprise): They invited you, too? Fancy!
Verb Phrases
  1. fancy up, to make superficially showy by way of improvement: an old car fancied up with a bright new paint job.

Origin of fancy

1350–1400; Middle English fan(t)sy, syncopated variant of fantasie fantasy
Related formsfan·ci·ness, nounun·fan·cy, adjective

Synonyms for fancy

See more synonyms for on
2. Fancy, fantasy, imagination refer to qualities in literature or other artistic composition. The creations of fancy are casual, whimsical, and often amusing, being at once less profound and less moving or inspiring than those of imagination: letting one's fancy play freely on a subject; an impish fancy. Fantasy now usually suggests an unrestrained or extravagant fancy, often resulting in caprice: The use of fantasy in art creates interesting results. The term and concept of creative imagination are less than two hundred years old; previously only the reproductive aspect had been recognized, hardly to be distinguished from memory. “Creative imagination” suggests that the memories of actual sights and experiences may so blend in the mind of the writer or artist as to produce something that has never existed before—often a hitherto unperceived vision of reality: to use imagination in portraying character and action. 3. thought, notion, impression, idea; phantasm. 5. quirk, humor, crotchet. 11. fine, elegant, choice. 12. decorated, ornate. 16. envision, conceive, imagine. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for fanciness


adjective -cier or -ciest
  1. not plain; ornamented or decorativea fancy cake; fancy clothes
  2. requiring skill to perform; intricatea fancy dance routine
  3. arising in the imagination; capricious or illusory
  4. (often used ironically) superior in quality or impressivea fancy course in business administration
  5. higher than expectedfancy prices
  6. (of a domestic animal) bred for particular qualities
noun plural -cies
  1. a sudden capricious idea; whim
  2. a sudden or irrational liking for a person or thing
  3. 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 imaginationSee imagination (def. 4)
  4. an idea or thing produced by this
  5. a mental image
  6. taste or judgment, as in art of dress
  7. Also called: fantasy, fantasia music a composition for solo lute, keyboard, etc, current during the 16th and 17th centuries
  8. the fancy archaic those who follow a particular sport, esp prize fighting
verb -cies, -cying or -cied (tr)
  1. to picture in the imagination
  2. to suppose; imagineI fancy it will rain
  3. (often used with a negative) to likeI don't fancy your chances!
  4. (reflexive) to have a high or ill-founded opinion of oneselfhe fancied himself as a doctor
  5. informal to have a wish for; desireshe fancied some chocolate
  6. British informal to be physically attracted to (another person)
  7. to breed (animals) for particular characteristics
  1. Also: fancy that! an exclamation of surprise or disbelief
Derived Formsfancily, adverbfanciness, noun

Word Origin for fancy

C15 fantsy, shortened from fantasie; see fantasy
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 fanciness



mid-15c., contraction of fantasy, it took the older and longer word's sense of "inclination, whim, desire." Meaning "fans of an amusement or sport, collectively" is attested by 1735, especially (though not originally) of the prize ring. The adjective is recorded from mid-18c.



"take a liking to," 1540s, a contraction of fantasien "to fantasize (about)," from fantasy (n.). Meaning "to imagine" is from 1550s. Related: Fancied; fancies; fancying. Colloquial use in fancy that, etc. is recorded by 1813.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fanciness


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.