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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English, a contraction of fantasy, from Old French fantasie, from Medieval Latin fantasia, from Late Latin phantasia ‎(an idea, notion, fancy, phantasm), from Ancient Greek φαντάζω ‎(phantázō, to render visible)



fancy ‎(plural fancies)

  1. The imagination.
    • Milton
      In the soul / Are many lesser faculties, that serve / Reason as chief. Among these fancy next / Her office holds.
  2. An image or representation of anything formed in the mind; conception; thought; idea.
    • Shakespeare
      How now, my lord! why do you keep alone, / Of sorriest fancies your companions making?
  3. An opinion or notion formed without much reflection; an impression.
    • John Locke
      I have always had a fancy that learning might be made a play and recreation to children.
  4. A whim.
    I had a fancy to learn to play the flute.
  5. Love or amorous attachment.
    He took a fancy to her.
  6. The object of inclination or liking.
    • Shakespeare
      to fit your fancies to your father's will
  7. Any sport or hobby pursued by a group.
    Trainspotting is the fancy of a special lot.
    the cat fancy
  8. The enthusiasts of such a pursuit.
    He fell out of favor with the boxing fancy after the incident.
    • De Quincey
      a great book sale in London, which had congregated all the fancy
  9. A diamond with a distinctive colour.
  10. That which pleases or entertains the taste or caprice without much use or value.
    • Mortimer
      London pride is a pretty fancy for borders.
  11. (obsolete) A sort of love song or light impromptu ballad.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  12. In the game of jacks, a style of play involving additional actions (contrasted with plainsies).
    • 1970, Marta Weigle, Follow my fancy: the book of jacks and jack games (page 22)
      When you have mastered plainsies, the regular jack game, and have learned all the rules, you will be ready to use this part of the book. A fancy is a variation of plainsies which usually requires more skill than plainsies does.
    • 2002, Elizabeth Dana Jaffe, ‎Sherry L. Field, ‎Linda D. Labbo, Jacks (page 26)
      When you get good at jacks, try adding a fancy. A fancy is an extra round at the end of a game. It makes the game a little harder. Jack Be Nimble, Around the World, or Black Widow are some fancies.

Derived terms[edit]



fancy ‎(comparative fancier, superlative fanciest)

  1. Decorative.
    This is a fancy shawl.
  2. Of a superior grade.
    This box contains bottles of the fancy grade of jelly.
  3. Executed with skill.
    He initiated the game winning play with a fancy, deked saucer pass to the winger.
  4. (colloquial) Unnecessarily complicated.
    I'm not keen on him and his fancy ideas.
  5. (obsolete) Extravagant; above real value.
    • Macaulay
      This anxiety never degenerated into a monomania, like that which led his [Frederick the Great's] father to pay fancy prices for giants.





fancy ‎(third-person singular simple present fancies, present participle fancying, simple past and past participle fancied)

  1. (formal) To appreciate without jealousy or greed.
    I fancy your new car, but I like my old one just fine.
  2. (Britain) would like
    I fancy a burger tonight for dinner
    Do you fancy going to town this weekend?
  3. (Britain, informal) To be sexually attracted to.
    I fancy that girl over there.
  4. (dated) To imagine, suppose.
    I fancy you'll want something to drink after your long journey.
    Fancy meeting you here!
    Fancy that! I saw Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy kissing in the garden.
    • John Locke
      If our search has reached no farther than simile and metaphor, we rather fancy than know.
    • Thackeray
      He fancied he was welcome, because those around him were his kinsmen.
    • 1895, H. G. Wells, The Time Machine Chapter X
      I fancied at first the stuff was paraffin wax, and smashed the jar accordingly. But the odor of camphor was unmistakable.
  5. To form a conception of; to portray in the mind; to imagine.
    • Dryden
      he whom I fancy, but can ne'er express
  6. To have a fancy for; to like; to be pleased with, particularly on account of external appearance or manners.
    • Shakespeare
      We fancy not the cardinal.


  • (be sexually attracted to): like (US)
  • (would like to): feel like

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]

External links[edit]