Definition of fancy in English:



  • 1Elaborate in structure or decoration.

    ‘the furniture was very fancy’
    ‘a fancy computerized system’
    • ‘This is a heartfelt, authentic film that doesn't try to wow you with witty dialogue, or impress with fancy costumes.’
    • ‘Packages decorated with fancy paper and ribbons are placed lovingly under the tree in anticipation of Christmas morning.’
    • ‘As well as the fancy rooms upstairs, there are the plainly decorated Bunkhouse rooms, designed to attract younger, bluff, snowboarder types into the Clubhouse.’
    • ‘They were decorated with fancy napkins and tablecloths.’
    • ‘The BCS trophies are pretty elaborate and fancy looking, while the plaque you get for winning the Mountain West conference is just okay.’
    • ‘Stenciled decoration made possible the mass-production of fancy furniture.’
    • ‘There was loud music, and tons of fancy decorations.’
    • ‘Crowds of people were already there, all wearing fancy dresses and expensive looking suits.’
    • ‘They were made of long wool fibers that were first combed to straighten them, spun tightly then woven in fancy weave structures.’
    • ‘She had chose a strapless wedding dress with fancy beading all down the front.’
    • ‘On the right were two magnificent French doors with fancy windows on decorating the wall.’
    • ‘He grabs tray with a bunch of fancy cups with smoothie, decorated with a straw and some cut pineapple and lemon on the side of the cup, from a table next to him and hands them out to the people.’
    • ‘Pausing before it, I remember what it looked like before all this fancy decoration.’
    • ‘The hotel lobby was lavished with fancy furniture and expensive pictures hung on the wall.’
    • ‘As rules for entertaining grew ever more elaborate, the fancy table setting enjoyed its heyday.’
    • ‘Women were always coming on to him and trying to impress him with their fancy clothes and too much makeup, trying to get close to him because of his celebrity status.’
    • ‘It appeared to be the handle to a sword decorated with a lot of fancy blue and white gems, without a blade attached.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The sprawling garden was festooned with fancy illuminations and aesthetically decorated flower baskets.’
    • ‘The bridge was vast, with fancy leather seats and bright, flashing computer systems manned by a lot of important-looking people.’
    ornate, decorated, embellished, adorned, ornamented, over-elaborate, fussy, busy, ostentatious, extravagant, showy, baroque, rococo, florid, wedding-cake, gingerbread
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    1. 1.1Designed to impress.
      ‘converted fishing boats with fancy new names’
      • ‘To my mind running a decent railway has little to do with fancy technology and everything to do with system.’
      • ‘Eliza has this fancy phone system which lets many people talk at the same time.’
      • ‘This does not require any fancy computer software or an advanced degree in accounting.’
      • ‘Besides, what if I don't want it on my iPod but on my fancy stereo system where I can hear just how bad the sound quality is when it's streaming over the air?’
      • ‘Fathers with grown daughters might want to give them a fancy wedding - and these don't come cheap nowadays!’
      • ‘It made it easy this way - Chelle and Steve couldn't afford a fancy wedding, and they wouldn't let Leo help them out.’
      • ‘Its fancy system also has a problem accepting damaged absentee ballots.’
      • ‘It's not your fancy computer wizardry that counts here, but solid craftsmanship.’
      • ‘I would rather attend my flustered and excited friend's big fancy wedding, then attend my own.’
      • ‘They now have some rather fancy houses on floating structures that are ‘tied-down’ so to speak, to huge poles to keep them anchored.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The system is a smaller version of the fancy TagmaStore system, so much smaller that Hitachi describes the new kit as midrange.’
      • ‘Well, consider how much you've invested in a fancy theater system with a big-screen television and high-fidelity speakers.’
      • ‘Now the reason we decided to get married was not for the big fancy wedding reception or for the ring or for the presents.’
      • ‘We can't do all the fancy things on the computer that they do on TV, but we can Google-search.’
      • ‘She headed across the street and down, past the fancy restaurants and another hotel.’
      • ‘The less willing you are to spend $300 impressing her with a fancy restaurant.’
      • ‘On the less serious side, outrageously expensive afternoon teas in fancy hotel become de rigueur.’
      • ‘Some of us then go to the hotel's fancy restaurant; it's an all-Indian menu.’
      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
      flash, flashy, fancy-pants, jazzy, ritzy, glitzy, snazzy, posh, classy, over the top, ott
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    2. 1.2North American (especially of foodstuffs) of high quality.
      ‘fancy molasses’
      • ‘They had a nice selection of fancy sandwiches, soups and breakfast foods.’
      • ‘Both are of high quality and immaculately prepared, but not exactly fancy dishes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is the showcase for dozens of fancy chocolate candies and brightly colored cookies, packaged in plastic bags or wooden boxes.’
      • ‘Yesterday when I brought out a platter of fancy cheeses, chichi crackers, and sliced pears for dessert R. was both astonished and delighted.’
      luxurious, lavish, extravagant, rich, grand, sybaritic, hedonistic, opulent
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    3. 1.3(of flowers) of two or more colors.
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4(of an animal) bred to develop particular points of appearance.
      ‘fancy goldfish’
      • ‘The trait that breeders of fancy mice wanted first and foremost was docility.’
      • ‘Golden cherry love-birds, English fowls, pigeons, fancy poultry birds - the range is really amazing.’
      • ‘The fancy mouse lives on today in England, America, Australia, New Zealand, and probably elsewhere.’
      • ‘They had some nice fancy goldfish at a reasonable price. I was going back to work though, so I couldn't buy and take them with me then.’
      • ‘I earned my pocket money in my teens by supplying the local area with eggs, and I kept a few fancy chickens as pets.’
  • 2archaic (of a drawing, painting, or sculpture) created from the imagination rather than from life.

    • ‘Towering over everything else was a large palace with fancy carvings all over it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dining room was crowded with large round tables and was ornately decorated with fancy paintings and exquisite chandeliers.’
    • ‘She'd considered a fancy carving or sculpture of the gods, like many others; it didn't seem to have any meaning, though.’


  • 1Feel a desire or liking for.

    informal ‘do you fancy a drink?’
    • ‘If you fancy a quick getaway there may be some space available in her Patrick's Day special, which gets underway on Tuesday next March 15.’
    • ‘So, if you fancy a night on the tiles with the added bonus of contributing to a very worthy cause, get your dancing shoes on and head for the Heritage on Friday November 12.’
    • ‘But if you fancy a more adventurous evening and want to enjoy a full range of nightlife activities Pattaya is just a few minutes down the coast.’
    • ‘Progressive this is not, but if you fancy a drink surrounded by relaxed jazz vibes, you could do a lot worse.’
    • ‘I really fancy ice skating in Dublin sometime soon.’
    • ‘So, if you're looking to take a short romantic break, or just fancy a change of scenery for the weekend, why not get yourself down to Florida and book a Bahamas cruise.’
    • ‘I do hope, though, that Mr Kennedy will not deny himself a drink when he fancies one.’
    • ‘Those who fancy a late-night meal with their drink can linger until the wee small hours (the rest are kicked out at midnight).’
    • ‘If you fancy a little more privacy, the peninsula boasts a number of secluded coves… just ask a resident where to find and access these hidden gems.’
    • ‘If you fancy a smoke and a drink, this isn't the place for you.’
    • ‘I had just enjoyed an excellent dinner at the Victoria and fancied a quiet drink on the terrace in the late evening sunshine that was bathing Torquay.’
    • ‘For those who fancy the traditional style of antiques/furniture and want to buy these as souvenirs, you may not find what you are looking for in the art shops in the department stores.’
    • ‘If you fancy a walk after the Christmas dinner one could do worse than join a sponsored five-mile walk to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society.’
    • ‘If you and your friends fancy a full four-course dinner for ten people prepared and served in your very own home by the catering team at the Airport, then you must head to this gala night and put your bid in.’
    • ‘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 don't usually drink on my own, but I just fancied a beer.’
    • ‘I fancy a move back down to Dublin, and I think I'd be ideal!’
    • ‘I fancy a stiff drink this lunchtime to steady my nerves!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Perhaps it's because the Spanish love their country so much that they don't fancy the cold, dismal UK and realise our streets are not paved with gold.’
    wish for, want, desire
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    1. 1.1Find sexually attractive.
      ‘he saw a woman he fancied’
      • ‘It includes the feeling that I love his company, I love the things we do together, and I seriously fancy him.’
      • ‘So it comes as a pleasant surprise that they too like smoking, drinking, fancying unsuitable people and Beatnik poets.’
      • ‘Anna told us ‘My first kiss was in a club, I was drunk and the guy fancied my best friend!’
      • ‘We share the same interests, I still fancy her, I'm still in love with her.’
      • ‘It was like a dream, really, to have fancied this boy for weeks, then discover he admired her too.’
      • ‘I have been married for 20 years, and although I love my wife I don't fancy her any more.’
      • ‘Clearly, the entire joke behind me getting his autograph was the ridiculousness of anyone ever fancying him, and yet he came through with good humour.’
      • ‘No matter which one of them you fancy that seems generous.’
      • ‘This is when you realise that you are the most ATTRACTIVE person in the entire bar and that everyone fancies you.’
      • ‘One in four women said they loved their partners but did not fancy them any more.’
      • ‘It went ‘Funny How the girls you fall in love with don't fancy you, Funny how the ones you don't do.’’
      • ‘After several years, I recently noted that I only really fancy my girlfriend after I've had a few drinks.’
      • ‘Apparently Ian got very drunk in W2 last night and told Ginny that I fancy her.’
      • ‘I know women who have been told by their husbands that they no longer love or fancy them.’
      • ‘Does any man secretly fret that his wife might stop fancying him if he doesn't shape up like 007?’
      • ‘She stars as Bridget, a calorie obsessed, thirtysomething singleton who drinks too much and fancies the wrong men.’
      • ‘He was fancied by the girls and admired by the boys.’
      • ‘Such a word would acknowledge that the one thing we really have in common, collectively is who we desire - or fancying people of the same sex.’
      • ‘I missed him like mad and even though I fancied Paul now, I'll always love James.’
      be attracted to, find attractive, be captivated by, be infatuated with, be taken with, desire
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    2. 1.2informal Have an unduly high opinion of oneself, or of one's ability in a particular area.
      ‘he fancied himself an amateur psychologist’
      • ‘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're fancying yourself a victim of circumstance, you're not participating enough in your own destiny.’
      • ‘If you fancy yourself as a bit of an Indiana Jones you can join the Young Archaeologists Club and receive free entry to the Museum.’
      • ‘They sit around chewing cigars, drawing maps of places not yet named, fancying themselves victors in a war yet to be fought against an enemy yet to be named.’
      • ‘If you fancy yourself an amateur paparazzi, keep your camera close at hand.’
      have a high opinion of oneself, be confident of one's abilities
      think one is the cat's pyjamas, think one is the cat's whiskers
      reckon oneself
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  • 2[with clause] Imagine; think.

    ‘he fancied he could smell the perfume of roses’
    • ‘There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.’
    • ‘I fancied that I felt a steadying pressure at my elbow, but I must have imagined it; the next moment the fellow brushed past me in a rude manner.’
    • ‘All men required a wife to provide a heir, and she fancied that Charles imagined one of the girls would do him very well.’
    • ‘He fancied that she was even trying to flirt with him, but it was so far away he couldn't tell.’
    • ‘I fancied that I saw disappointment flash in his eyes for a second when he turned to look at me, and I averted my gaze.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I fancied that they traveled in a long train behind their blue-blooded lordling.’
    • ‘They seem to fancy that the trendy outfits that adorn their children will become the talk of the town.’
    • ‘He fancies that he and I are in the same situation; our powers are certainly far above the level of the rest of the team and most our enemies to boot.’
    • ‘I fancied that I could see the pulse in his neck slow, and stop.’
    • ‘Em wasn't imagining the bitterness she fancied she heard in her voice.’
    • ‘He fancies that Sturt has a problem with his wife, and maybe he did.’
    • ‘She could still feel the lingering warmth of his lips on hers, and if she closed her eyes she fancied that she could even feel his presence close by her.’
    • ‘I have frequently been disappointed when fancying that I was giving news of importance to my friend.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She glanced across the room and for a second, she fancied that she saw Emily Bronte, an unreadable expression on her face, nodding her approval.’
    • ‘I fancy that from now on, the superintendent and her likes will have to be on their guard when handing out donations unless they entrust their money to a charity.’
    • ‘She fancied that she saw some emotional connection between them.’
    • ‘It's likely to be a close one and doubtless both sides will be fancying their respective chances.’
    • ‘Edwin fancied that he heard a noise somewhere behind him.’
    think, imagine, guess, believe, have an idea, suppose
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    1. 2.1[in imperative]Used to express one's surprise at something.
      ‘fancy meeting all those television actors!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fancy that, there's more to life than just shopping.’


  • 1A feeling of liking or attraction, typically one that is superficial or transient.

    ‘this does not mean that the law should change with every passing fancy’
    • ‘At first it was a passing fancy, but by Christmas he had talked himself into it.’
    • ‘Her parents hoped that skydiving was a passing fancy.’
    • ‘In fact, when I am near him I cannot focus at all, so deliriously in love am I. And this is not a passing fancy.’
    • ‘I'm very happy to say his dream was not a passing fancy, as I've now had the privilege of attending the first two gatherings.’
    • ‘Twenty-five years later, those words sound as absurd as those who asserted that the horseless carriage would be a passing fancy.’
    • ‘As for the embarrassment factor, if your son's love of golf is more than a passing fancy, he'll recover.’
    • ‘It would really be a great pity if blogs were to die as yet another passing fancy on the Internet.’
    • ‘Had it all been just a fashion craze, a passing fancy rather than a unique style?’
    • ‘There are dolls to capture the fancy of people of all ages, and especially the young at heart.’
    • ‘If you suspect that the room's theme may be nothing more than a passing fancy, limit purchases to items that are easy to replace or require little investment.’
    • ‘This disc was great and I know I'll be playing it non-stop for the next few weeks, but it's also got a staying power that is more than a passing fancy.’
    • ‘Only real talent endures, and the other stuff is passing fancy.’
    • ‘Is it a sign of maturity or simply a passing fancy?’
    • ‘At first I thought it was just a passing fancy, but she's come back to talk to me about it several times.’
    • ‘If enlightened despotism was a passing fancy, it must also be admitted that not all the philosophes agreed with the virtues of political liberalism either.’
    • ‘The wise man, however, spoke of love, not a passing fancy.’
    • ‘China's diplomatic machine has spared no effort, making sure that African leaders do not view its interest as a passing fancy.’
    • ‘William did not doubt that this was a passing fancy for Clara, she had never kept interest in a man long enough.’
    • ‘In Domingo's view, the operatic boom Spain has suffered has nothing to do with a passing fancy.’
    • ‘Time will tell whether female-friendly foods are a passing fancy or a market niche that's here to stay.’
    desire, urge, wish, want
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  • 2The faculty of imagination.

    ‘my research assistant is prone to flights of fancy’
    • ‘Carême excelled at these artistic flights of fancy, which is probably why Bailly gave him the freedom to indulge in his quest for knowledge.’
    • ‘Dan's quick-witted mind and surreal flights of fancy have delighted both critics and comedy audiences alike.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Synge could have done with an editor to shorten some of his flights of fancy.’
    imagination, imaginative faculty, imaginative power, creativity, creative faculty, creative power, conception, fancifulness, inventiveness, invention, originality, ingenuity, cleverness, wit, artistry
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    1. 2.1A thing that one supposes or imagines, typically an unfounded or tentative belief or idea; notion or whim.
      ‘scientific fads and fancies’
      • ‘This is an issue, which has come up before, but has been inconsistently applied to individuals depending on the personal whims and fancies of Board officials.’
      • ‘Aside from sounding like a badly made movie, it's more likely to have happened in the subconscious fancies of your dreams.’
      • ‘She talked so much about birth, that, for a moment, I half fancied and with pain - but, what an idle fancy to suppose that she could think or care what mine was!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The markets need to be led, not followed, in order to tame speculative market actions and counter herd behavior, fads, and fancies.’
      • ‘He considers my idea of priesthood just a fancy.’
      • ‘It is by these special touches that the author infuses the books with the spirit of humanity, without which a fantasy becomes an empty fancy.’
      • ‘Intellectual confusion will continue to encourage the men who are intolerant and who fake their beliefs in the interests of their feelings and fancies.’
      • ‘Too often, he complicates swell ideas by letting random fancies find their way onto the plate.’
      • ‘Luzhin feels that all the dreams and fancies of having Dounia as his wife is in jeopardy because of a unforeseen turn of fortunes.’
      • ‘After years of catering exclusively to the whims and fancies of women, companies have done a turnabout.’
      • ‘Yuki emerged from her dream of little fancies and looked up.’
      • ‘The ideas stay more or less the same, but the fancies really move.’
      idea, notion, thought, supposition, opinion, belief, impression, image, understanding, conceptualization
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  • 3(in sixteenth and seventeenth century music) a composition for keyboard or strings in free or variation form.

    • ‘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.

      ‘I shall go where the fancy takes me’
      • ‘Why not take a picnic and stop ‘en route’ where the fancy takes you.’
      • ‘You can write your own itinerary, stop any time, or revise the route as the fancy takes you.’
      • ‘They are both of them at their happiest when the kitchen door is left wide open so they can wander in and out as the fancy takes them.’
      • ‘In fairness, I have not been an avid viewer this year, only dipping in and out when the fancy takes me.’
      • ‘You can spell it with one or two, as the fancy takes you, though when it first appeared it had only one.’
      • ‘They often also find it difficult to finish what they have started, and tend to flit from one project to another as the fancy takes them.’
      • ‘It runs within a browser window, numerous hyperlinks make it easy for the curious reader to range around from topic to topic as the fancy takes them, and there is intelligent use of music and video files.’
      • ‘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.’
  • take (or catch) someone's fancy

    • Appeal to someone.

      ‘she'll grab any toy that takes her fancy’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Marks took to sending her poems; one particularly took her fancy, and she made him promise that if she did not live to see his book launch, he would recite it, a promise he was happy to fulfil.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most poignantly, Mary recalls a young boy who took her fancy all those years ago and she arranges a reunion with him despite not having spoken together for almost 30 years.’
      attract, be attractive to, interest, be of interest to, please, take someone's fancy, charm, engage, fascinate, intrigue, tempt, entice, allure, beguile, lure, invite, draw, whet someone's appetite
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  • take a fancy to

    • Become fond of, especially without an obvious reason.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The other day a random guy wandered into the library and took a fancy to her,’ Brian said as his lips pressed into a thin line.’
      • ‘The result of Napoleon's troubles was to cast the British and their allies as victors in France and flooded France with considerable foreign armies - many of which took a fancy to the towns and cities they passed through.’


Late Middle English: contraction of fantasy.