Definition of fancy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfansi/

verb (fancies, fancying, fancied)

[with object]
1British informal Feel a desire or liking for: do you fancy a drink?
More example sentences
  • I gave up alcohol during the week, even though Joanna said I did not have to, but when I did fancy a drink I just built the calorie cost into my steps, walking a bit further.
  • So if you fancy a drink in surroundings with a difference, and like the idea of going from flower power to power suits in a few hundred yards, Bar Talk knows the place for you.
  • I fancy a stiff drink this lunchtime to steady my nerves!
wish for, want, desire;
long for, yearn for, crave, have a yearning/craving for, hanker after, hunger for, thirst for, sigh for, pine for, dream of, covet
informal have a yen for, itch for
archaic be desirous of
rare desiderate
1.1Find sexually attractive: I really fancy him
More example sentences
  • This is when you realise that you are the most ATTRACTIVE person in the entire bar and that everyone fancies you.
  • It went ‘Funny How the girls you fall in love with don't fancy you, Funny how the ones you don't do.’
  • I know women who have been told by their husbands that they no longer love or fancy them.
be attracted to, find attractive, be captivated by, be infatuated with, be taken with, desire;
lust after, burn for
informal have taken a shine to, have a crush on, have the hots for, be wild/mad/crazy about, have a thing about, have a pash on, have a soft spot for, be soft on, have eyes for, carry a torch for, go for, lech after/over
1.2 (fancy oneself) informal Have an unduly high opinion of oneself, or of one’s ability in a particular area: he fancied himself as an amateur psychologist
More example sentences
  • WHAT WOULD be the ideal gift for someone who thinks about technology all the time, and who also fancies himself or herself as something of an amateur detective or a spy who is licensed to snoop?
  • If you fancy yourself an amateur paparazzi, keep your camera close at hand.
  • If you're fancying yourself a victim of circumstance, you're not participating enough in your own destiny.
have a high opinion of oneself, be confident of one's abilities
informal think one is the cat's whiskers/pyjamas, think one is God's gift (to women)
British informal reckon oneself
2British Regard (a horse, team, or player) as a likely winner: [with object and infinitive]: I fancy him to win the tournament
More example sentences
  • The Americans as usual will fancy their horses to beat all-comers, but O'Brien's three can win a fair pile of the millions of dollars up for grabs at Chicago.
  • His colt is fancied to resume winning ways.
  • Despite his side's failure to score an away goal, Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez fancies his team to progress also.
3 [with clause] Imagine; think: he fancied he could smell the perfume of roses
More example sentences
  • All men required a wife to provide a heir, and she fancied that Charles imagined one of the girls would do him very well.
  • I mean and very often when really good stuff happens to you in terms of money you lose track of what's important and I fancy that I haven't lost track of that.
  • While oohing and aahing over the stars, we fancy that those are the same constellations that the ancient Greek philosophers once admired and pondered over.
think, imagine, guess, believe, have an idea, suppose;
gather, surmise, suspect, conjecture, be of the opinion, be of the view, be under the impression, think it likely/conceivable
informal reckon
3.1 [in imperative] chiefly British Used to express surprise at something: fancy meeting all those television actors!
More example sentences
  • Fancy that, there's more to life than just shopping.
  • Well fancy that! I’m the black sheep in my family: I swear too much, wear too much black, have a black sense of humour, cover my body in black ink and have a severely reduced sense of grace and tact.

adjective (fancier, fanciest)

1Elaborate in structure or decoration: the furniture was very fancy a fancy computerized system
More example sentences
  • They were made of long wool fibers that were first combed to straighten them, spun tightly then woven in fancy weave structures.
  • Packages decorated with fancy paper and ribbons are placed lovingly under the tree in anticipation of Christmas morning.
  • Once my eyes adjusted to the light, I was shocked to find that I was in a fancy room that was decorated with fake fur, velvet, muslin, satin, and angora.
1.1Sophisticated or expensive in a way that is intended to impress: fancy hotels and restaurants
More example sentences
  • I know you want me to have this big fancy wedding with six hundred people but I don't want that.
  • Besides, you can get her to burn copies for you on her fancy computer.
  • Now the reason we decided to get married was not for the big fancy wedding reception or for the ring or for the presents.
elaborate, ornate, ornamented, ornamental, decorated, decorative, adorned, embellished, intricate, baroque, rococo, fussy, busy;
ostentatious, showy, flamboyant, gaudy;
luxurious, sumptuous, lavish, extravagant, expensive, deluxe, select, superior, high-class, quality, prime
informal flash, flashy, fancy-pants, jazzy, ritzy, glitzy, snazzy, posh, classy, over the top, OTT
British informal swish
1.2chiefly North American (Especially of foodstuffs) of high quality: fancy molasses
More example sentences
  • He doubles in size and quickly passes over me replacing my wallet back in the same pocket leaving me lightly powdered with snow looking like a fancy sugar cookie.
  • Yesterday when I brought out a platter of fancy cheeses, chichi crackers, and sliced pears for dessert R. was both astonished and delighted.
  • Both are of high quality and immaculately prepared, but not exactly fancy dishes.
1.3(Of a flower) of two or more colours: all pelargoniums, from scented-leaf species to fancy hybrids, thrive in hot sunshine
More example sentences
  • Fashion designs are full of romantic ideas such as fancy flowers, cozy colour prints, ethnic embroidery and clashing geometric patterns.
  • Few pundits could resist comparing high dotcom stock prices to the historic craze for fancy flowers.
1.4(Of an animal) bred to develop particular points of appearance: fancy goldfish
More example sentences
  • The trait that breeders of fancy mice wanted first and foremost was docility.
  • The fancy mouse lives on today in England, America, Australia, New Zealand, and probably elsewhere.
  • Golden cherry love-birds, English fowls, pigeons, fancy poultry birds - the range is really amazing.
2 archaic (Of a drawing, painting, or sculpture) created from the imagination rather than from life: I used to take a seat and busy myself in sketching fancy vignettes
More example sentences
  • She'd considered a fancy carving or sculpture of the gods, like many others; it didn't seem to have any meaning, though.
  • Armstrong painted portraits as well as history and landscape paintings, but focused mainly on sign and fancy painting.
  • She couldn't stop looking at the fancy carvings in the walls, and at the stained glass windows.

noun (plural fancies)

1A superficial or transient feeling of liking or attraction: this was no passing fancy, but a feeling he would live by
More example sentences
  • China's diplomatic machine has spared no effort, making sure that African leaders do not view its interest as a passing fancy.
  • The wise man, however, spoke of love, not a passing fancy.
  • As for the embarrassment factor, if your son's love of golf is more than a passing fancy, he'll recover.
desire, urge, wish, want;
inclination, bent;
whim, impulse, caprice, notion, whimsy, eccentricity, peculiarity, quirk, kink;
preference, fondness, liking, partiality, predilection, predisposition, taste, relish, love, humour, penchant;
yearning, longing, hankering, craving, pining, ache, hunger, thirst, need
informal yen, itch
1.1 dated A person or thing that one finds attractive: people jostled to ride alongside their fancy
More example sentences
  • But this is not the first time that women have been forced into conforming to the fashion fancies of the day.
1.2A favourite in a race or other sporting contest: the filly is already a leading fancy for next year’s races
More example sentences
  • All the leading fancies stood their ground at yesterday's confirmation stage for the Tote Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday.
  • However the runners were tightly grouped going to the bend which resulted in the leading fancies being squeezed out of contention.
  • Racing was of a very high standard with the added bonus that all of the leading fancies made it through to the decider.
1.3 (the fancy) dated Enthusiasts for a sport, especially boxing or racing, considered collectively: pony carts went round the racecourse loaded with the fancy
More example sentences
  • It is the day after a day at the races, a night on the tiles and a morning on what is known by the locals as Tweed Street, where a select line of gentlemen's outfitters tog out the racing fancy.
  • Klitschko was the darling of the boxing ‘fancy,’ widely regarded as the savior of a weak post-Lennox Lewis heavyweight division.
2 [mass noun] The faculty of imagination: he is prone to flights of fancy
More example sentences
  • Carême excelled at these artistic flights of fancy, which is probably why Bailly gave him the freedom to indulge in his quest for knowledge.
  • Kon's flights of fancy occur primarily as dream sequences and flashbacks, leaving room for the plot to linearly unfold.
  • With images that stir such flights of fancy, it's no wonder that Scotland's far-flung locations are a magnet for film-makers.
imagination, imaginative faculty/power, creativity, creative faculty/power, conception, fancifulness, inventiveness, invention, originality, ingenuity, cleverness, wit, artistry;
images, mental images, visualizations
2.1 [count noun] An unfounded or tentative belief or idea: I’ve a fancy they want to be alone
More example sentences
  • Too often, he complicates swell ideas by letting random fancies find their way onto the plate.
  • Of course we are brought around again to that bogey man of subjectivity where people pick and choose to suit their own fancies with regard to beliefs.
  • We are not reasonable beings, and naturally expect our fancies to be indulged.
idea, notion, thought, supposition, opinion, belief, impression, image, understanding, conceptualization;
feeling, suspicion, sneaking suspicion, hunch, inkling, intimation;
illusion, fantasy, dream
3 (also fancy cake) British A small iced cake: chocolate fancies
More example sentences
  • Deep-down, if appearance didn't matter, if fat really was fab, wouldn't we all wallow around in a glorious ocean of crisps and cakes and fry-ups and fancies?
  • When we returned in the evening, they produced an almighty spread of homemade cakes and scones and fancies of all kinds.
  • AFTER 21 years in the cake-making business, what Evelyn Hogwarth doesn't know about wedding cakes wouldn't fill a fruit fancy.
4(In 16th and 17th century music) a composition for keyboard or strings in free or variation form.
Example sentences
  • Division technique...penetrated nearly all 17th century English instrumental forms, including the venerable polyphonic fancy.



as (or when or where) the fancy takes one

According to one’s inclination: you could move about as the fancy took you
More example sentences
  • Why not take a picnic and stop ‘en route’ where the fancy takes you.
  • In fairness, I have not been an avid viewer this year, only dipping in and out when the fancy takes me.
  • Although surrounded by loving family, the independent spirit which has taken Nan across the globe means she is happy to visit the restaurant on her own when the fancy takes her.

fancy one's (or someone's) chances

Believe that one (or someone else) is likely to be successful: we fancy our chances in the replay
More example sentences
  • Both teams fancy their chances of a successful play-off campaign.
  • Scottish companies will continue to be wary of flotation, while some technology firms may fancy their chances after the success of Wolfson Microelectronics.
  • By accepting the gauntlet, he has already indicated drive, determination, ambition and confidence and must clearly fancy his chances of being a success.

take (or catch) someone's fancy

Appeal to someone: she’ll grab any toy that takes her fancy
More example sentences
  • He caught on film whatever took his fancy, but more than the glamorous and opulent face of Europe, it was her ordinary, earthy face that attracted him.
  • Levin used to have a near daily column where he wrote about whatever took his fancy: politics, opera or whatever.
  • She just happened to be the one who took his fancy - and even that said something about him.

take a fancy to

Become fond of, especially without an obvious reason: she took a fancy to me
More example sentences
  • It's not my kids I don't trust, it's the other ones, older children who may take a fancy to their bikes, pocket money, trainers etc.
  • Goodness knows why I should take a fancy to jelly and blancmange.
  • Henry, the youngest, took a fancy to me, this little baby girl, and I can remember him down on his knees, holding out his hands to me.



Pronunciation: /ˈfansɪli/
Example sentences
  • Presumably, if a not technological savvy person stumbles into PC world, they will be taken to the expensive, fancily packaged stuff.
  • ‘When I see very fancily dressed women it makes me smile to look at their shoes and see that they're as dirty as mine,’ said Maite.
  • With that, she left through a fancily decorated screen door and shut it feebly behind her.


Example sentences
  • Love presides over the fanciness at the wedding, doesn't it, dear?
  • And there's no hiding behind the fanciness of the restaurant - all that expense-account dining has made her very picky.
  • I saw that my choice of dress had been a good one; it seemed to be right in the middle of the range of fanciness that I saw in the hall.


Late Middle English: contraction of fantasy.

  • fantastic from Late Middle English:

    A word originally meaning ‘existing only in the imagination, unreal’ that comes from Greek phantastikos ‘vision’. Fantasy (Late Middle English) is of similar origin, as is fancy (Late Middle English), a contracted version of fantasy. The modern use of fantastic to mean ‘wonderful, excellent’ dates from the 1930s. The playful phrase trip the light fantastic, meaning ‘to dance’, goes back to John Milton's 1645 poem L'Allegro: ‘Come, and trip it as you go / On the light fantastic toe.’ Pant (Middle English) ‘to breath spasmodically’ goes back to the root verb of fantastic, phainon ‘to show’, via Old French pantaisier ‘be agitated, gasp’; as do phantom (Middle English) from phantasma ‘mere appearance’ and phenomenon (late 16th century) which meant ‘things appearing to view’ in the original Greek.

Words that rhyme with fancy

antsy, Clancy, Nancy

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fancy

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