Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Highly decorated.
  • adjective Complex or intricate.
  • adjective Elegantly fashionable or sophisticated.
  • adjective Of superior grade; fine.
  • adjective Excessive or exorbitant.
  • adjective Bred for unusual qualities or special points.
  • noun The mental faculty through which whims, visions, and fantasies are summoned up; imagination, especially of a whimsical or fantastic nature.
  • noun Something imagined or invented by the mind.
  • noun A capricious liking or inclination.
  • noun A romantic liking or interest.
  • noun The enthusiasts or fans of a sport or pursuit considered as a group.
  • noun The sport or pursuit, such as boxing, engaging the interest of such a group.
  • transitive verb To have a liking or enthusiasm for.
  • transitive verb To have a desire or inclination for.
  • transitive verb To take a romantic interest in (someone).
  • transitive verb To imagine or suppose.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To form a fancy or an ideal conception of; imagine.
  • To believe with little or no reason; imagine; suppose; presume: as, he fancies that he is ill; I fancy you will fail.
  • To take a fancy to; like; be pleased with.
  • To breed or raise, with reference to pleasing the fancy; produce as a fancier.
  • To have or form a fancy or an ideal conception; believe or suppose without proof; imagine.
  • To love.
  • noun The productive imagination, especially as exercised in an unregulated, desultory, or capricious manner; the power or the act of forming in the mind images of unusual, impossible, odd, grotesque, whimsical, etc., combinations of things. See imagination.
  • noun The result or product of an exercise of the fancy; a fanciful image or conception of the mind; a representation in thought, speech, or art of anything ideal or imaginary: as, a pleasing fancy or conceit.
  • noun An idea or opinion formed upon slight grounds or with little consideration; a speculative belief in the possibility or reality of something untried or unknown; an impression, supposition, or notion: as, that's a mere fancy.
  • noun Productive or operative taste; design; invention.
  • noun Inclination; liking; fondness: as, that which suits your fancy.
  • noun Something that pleases or entertains without necessarily having real use or value.
  • noun A short, impromptu musical piece, usually instrumental; a fantasy.
  • noun One of the ornamental tags or aglets attached to the points in the seventeenth century.
  • noun A fancy roller (which see, under II.).
  • noun Any class of people who cultivate a special taste; fanciers collectively.
  • noun Synonyms Fantasy, etc. See fantasy and imagination.
  • noun Conceit.
  • noun Penchant, bias, vagary, whimsey.
  • Involving fancy; of a fanciful or imaginary nature; ideal; illusory; notional; dictated by or dependent on the fancy: as, a fancy portrait; fancy prices; fancy strokes or touches.
  • Fine; elegant; ornamental; adapted to please the taste or fancy (as a trade-epithet); of superfine quality: as, fancy stationery; fancy flour.
  • As commonly used, articles of show and ornament, not including valuable jewelry, but including appliances of dress less useful than ordinary textile materials or garments made of them, as women's collars, ruffles, ties, and the like, and such articles as inkstands, paper-weights, card-receivers, button-hooks, etc., of ornamental design.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To form a conception of; to portray in the mind; to imagine.
  • transitive verb To have a fancy for; to like; to be pleased with, particularly on account of external appearance or manners.
  • transitive verb To believe without sufficient evidence; to imagine (something which is unreal).
  • intransitive verb To figure to one's self; to believe or imagine something without proof.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To love.
  • adjective Adapted to please the fancy or taste, especially when of high quality or unusually appealing; ornamental.
  • adjective Extravagant; above real value.

Etymologies

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

[From Middle English fantsy, imagination, fantasy, from fantasie; see fantasy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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  (phantazein, "to render visible")

Examples

  • What the Chinese eat is a mystery, and such queer compounds enter into their _menu_ that I would give everybody who dines with a Chinaman this advice -- don't enquire too minutely into what is placed before you, or you will eat nothing, and so offend your host; bolt it and fancy it is something nice -- and _fancy_ goes for something at times, I can assure you.

    In Eastern Seas Or, the Commission of H.M.S. 'Iron Duke,' flag-ship in China, 1878-83

  • IV. iv.493 (354,2) [and by my fancy] It must be remembered that _fancy_ in this author very often, as in this place, means _love_.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies

  • I did not use the term fancy doctor to be sarcastic.

    18-foot hedges and a motion sensor

  • But the Greeks call it fancy, which signifies appearance, and is as proper to one sense as to another.

    Leviathan

  • But let me tell you that what you call a fancy has been anything but a fancy with me, to be over like a spring shower.

    The Hand of Ethelberta

  • But she knew that had she done so — had she so resolved — that which she called her fancy would have been too strong for her.

    Phineas Finn

  • But let me tell you that what you call a fancy has been anything but a fancy with me, to be over like a spring shower.

    The Hand of Ethelberta

  • But she knew that had she done so, — had she so resolved, — that which she called her fancy would have been too strong for her.

    Phineas Finn

  • But she knew that had she done so -- had she so resolved -- that which she called her fancy would have been too strong for her.

    Phineas Finn

  • But she knew that had she done so, -- had she so resolved, -- that which she called her fancy would have been too strong for her.

    Phineas Finn The Irish Member

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