Origin of fancy

1350–1400; Middle English fan(t)sy, syncopated variant of fantasie fantasy


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.


fan·ci·ness, noun un·fan·cy, adjective

Example sentences from the Web for fancy

British Dictionary definitions for fancy

Derived forms of fancy

fancily, adverb fanciness, noun

Word Origin for fancy

C15 fantsy, shortened from fantasie; see fantasy

Idioms and Phrases with fancy


see flight of fancy; footloose and fancy-free; take a fancy to; tickle one's fancy;.