View synonyms for fancy


[ fan-see ]


, fan·ci·er, fan·ci·est.
  1. ornamental; decorative; not plain:

    a cake with a fancy icing.

    Synonyms: ornate, decorated

  2. tending or intending to impress: fancy four-syllable words.

    a fancy degree in geophysics;

    fancy four-syllable words.

  3. complicated or difficult to perform or execute:

    a couple doing some fancy footwork on the dance floor.

  4. depending on imagination or caprice; whimsical; irregular:

    a fancy conception of time.

  5. made, designed, grown, adapted, etc., to please the taste or fancy; of superfine quality or exceptional appeal:

    fancy goods; fancy fruits.

    Synonyms: choice, elegant, fine

  6. bred to develop points of beauty or excellence, as an animal.
  7. much too costly; exorbitant or extravagant:

    a consultant who charges fancy fees.


, 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.

    Synonyms: phantasm, idea, impression, notion, thought

  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.

    Synonyms: crotchet, humor, quirk

  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. the fancy, Archaic. people deeply interested in a sport, art, etc.
  10. Obsolete. sexual love.

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!

    Synonyms: imagine, conceive, envision

  2. to believe without being absolutely sure or certain:

    I fancy you are my new neighbor.

  3. to take a liking to; like:

    I really fancy the spotted one in that litter.

  4. to want or desire:

    I fancy another piece of cake.

  5. to breed to develop a special type of animal.


  1. fancy that. (used as an exclamation of mild surprise):

    They invited you, too? Fancy!

verb phrase

  1. to make superficially showy by way of improvement:

    an old car fancied up with a bright new paint job.


/ ˈfænsɪ /


  1. not plain; ornamented or decorative

    fancy clothes

    a fancy cake

  2. requiring skill to perform; intricate

    a fancy dance routine

  3. arising in the imagination; capricious or illusory
  4. ( often used ironically ) superior in quality or impressive

    a fancy course in business administration

  5. higher than expected

    fancy prices

  6. (of a domestic animal) bred for particular qualities
“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


  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 imagination See imagination
  4. an idea or thing produced by this
  5. a mental image
  6. taste or judgment, as in art of dress
  7. Also calledfantasyfantasia 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
“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


  1. to picture in the imagination
  2. to suppose; imagine

    I fancy it will rain

  3. often used with a negative to like

    I don't fancy your chances!

  4. reflexive to have a high or ill-founded opinion of oneself

    he fancied himself as a doctor

  5. informal.
    to have a wish for; desire

    she fancied some chocolate

  6. informal.
    to be physically attracted to (another person)
  7. to breed (animals) for particular characteristics
“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


  1. Alsofancy that! an exclamation of surprise or disbelief
“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
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Derived Forms

  • ˈfancily, adverb
  • ˈfanciness, noun
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Other Words From

  • fan·ci·ness noun
  • un·fan·cy adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of fancy1

First recorded in 1400–1450; Middle English fan(t)sy, syncopated variant of fantasie fantasy
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Word History and Origins

Origin of fancy1

C15 fantsy , shortened from fantasie ; see fantasy
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Synonym Study

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.
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Example Sentences

We want to have the fancy, nice things but often discover that having the fancy, nice things usually means someone has to pay.

From Ozy

To make a deepfake, you don’t need a fancy computer or even a ton of knowledge about software.

It covers the review of all documents first by the lender, then separately by the borrower’s “settlement agent,” a fancy term for his or her lawyer.

From Fortune

Figuring this all out takes some fancy math, but it’s something an electronic calculator can easily manage.

Portable bathroom options, which range from simple bag setups for fast and light backpacking to fancy full-flush contraptions for long-term campground stays, can help.

The Plaza Hotel cooked a fancy-pants latke with red wine braised oxtail, horseradish sunchoke cream, and crispy kale.

They're also proof that no matter how fancy you are, you can't escape the urge to watch two girls make out.

To get the product from manufacturer to arm, the product is lyophilized (a fancy word for freeze dried).

This fancy spice pack pairs with four different spirits—vodka, tequila, aquavit, and gin—to ensure the perfect morning pick-me-up.

I fancy Holmes would have destroyed those theories with nothing more than his intuition.

A fancy came into my head that I would entertain the king and queen with an English tune upon this instrument.

She fancied there was a sympathy of thought and taste between them, in which fancy she was mistaken.

One time my fancy soared on high, to see what discoveries I could make in those clearer regions.

Fancy that enormous shell dropping suddenly out of the blue on to a ship's deck swarming with troops!

In the old days every great man kept a toad-eater; sometimes his functions were highly paid—Wolff's are, I fancy.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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