Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Created in the fancy; unreal: a fanciful story.
  • adj. Tending to indulge in fancy: a fanciful mind.
  • adj. Showing invention or whimsy in design; imaginative. See Synonyms at fantastic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. imaginative or fantastic; unreal or imagined

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of fancy; guided by fancy, rather than by reason and experience; whimsical.
  • adj. Conceived in the fancy; not consistent with facts or reason; abounding in ideal qualities or figures
  • adj. Curiously shaped or constructed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Led by fancy rather than by reason and experience; subject to the influence of fancy; whimsical: applied to persons.
  • Opposed to real.
  • Dictated or produced by fancy; appealing to or engaging the fancy; characterized by capricious aspects or qualities; curious: applied to things: as, a fanciful scheme; fanciful shapes.
  • Synonyms Imaginative, visionary, capricious, eccentric.
  • Fanciful, Fantastic, Grotesque, chimerical, wild. Fantastic and grotesque may be applied to persons or to things, but grotesque to persons only when indicating outward appearance. That which is fanciful is odd, but not beyond the point of pleasing; that which is fantastic goes beyond that point, suggesting an unregulated or half-crazy fancy: as, the fantastic notions or dress of a lunatic. That which is grotesque carries fancy so far as to be unnatural, absurd, a combination of incongruous parts, a travesty upon the real or proper.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not based on fact; unreal
  • adj. indulging in or influenced by fancy
  • adj. having a curiously intricate quality

Etymologies

fancy + -ful (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Or a place in which the fanciful is allowed to commingle with reality.

    words, words | clusterflock

  • And she saw that Pitt, while he was enthusiastic and eager, and what she called fanciful, always was true, honest, and firm in what he thought right.

    A Red Wallflower

  • My husband was no believer in what he termed my fanciful, speculative theories; yet at the time when his youngest boy and myself lay dangerously ill, and hardly expected to live, I received from him a letter, written in great haste, which commenced with this sentence:

    Roughing It in the Bush

  • I have to admit that I like certain fanciful ideas, and some of these I sort of entertain with just a little more than fictive suspension of disbelief for the sake of a good story, despite their being rather more mystical than my materialist instincts.

    THE HALLS OF PENTHEUS -- PART ONE

  • Industrial parks surrounding Hermosillo contain fanciful buildings that feature companies like this Mattel assembly plant.

    Sonora - Mexico's wild west

  • My husband was no believer in what he termed my fanciful, speculative theories; yet at the time when his youngest boy and myself lay dangerously ill, and hardly expected to live, I received from him a letter, written in great haste, which commenced with this sentence: Do write to me, dear S —, when you receive this.

    Roughing It in the Bush

  • We must separate the fanciful from the real, or at least make the one subservient to the other.

    Letters for Literary Ladies: To Which is Added, An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification

  • On the High Line, the incongruous delight of strolling through a leafy glade three stories above the roaring traffic's boom is made more piquant by the omnipresence of buildings crowded close to both sides of the walkway, especially at those points where it passes beneath a towering new structure and shoots straight through a cavernous old one, recalling the fanciful multilayered Manhattan imagined by illustrators for the turn-of-the-twentieth-century journal King's Views of New York.

    Up in the Park

  • But look in the corners, in the cracks, look at all those societies that are not industrial, not market-driven, and still very much a part of this world, that have evolved ontologies which you would call fanciful, but the parallels they have with the most advanced rational thought are not to be brushed aside lightly.

    "Let them learn Latin"

  • It offended him both as a lawyer and as a lover of the sane and customary sides of life, to whom the fanciful was the immodest.

    The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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