Definition of fantasy in US English:


nounPlural fantasies

  • 1The faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

    ‘his research had moved into the realm of fantasy’
    • ‘The idea Greenspan, who turned 75 earlier this month, should hold all the economic answers is to live in the realms of fantasy.’
    • ‘A flight into the realms of fantasy is almost always a flight into danger.’
    • ‘These are tough ladies, both professional dominants, who very clearly differentiate between fantasy and reality.’
    • ‘Can a 7-year-old clearly distinguish reality from fantasy?’
    • ‘If previous soul musicians reflected social unrest and the plight of the Afro-American, George Clinton's psychedelic glam-funk was in the realms of fantasy.’
    • ‘Although the Chancellor may well remain against early membership, we can no longer claim the mechanics of British membership are in the realms of fantasy.’
    • ‘Too many clubs seem to be spending ridiculous amounts based on projected incomes which are not just unrealistic but beyond the realms of fantasy.’
    • ‘Christie's Africa sale on September 24, which is a veritable Aladdin's cave of Stanley's effects allows us to enter into the realms of fantasy.’
    • ‘He differs from them, moreover, in his passionate portrayal of dilemmas, choices, challenges and threats that occur in the cold light of everyday reality rather than the realms of fantasy.’
    • ‘But at 3000 pounds sterling it's going to stay in the realms of fantasy for a while.’
    • ‘The proposition that tolls might quadruple on the Forth Road Bridge at peak times belongs in the realms of fantasy, in the box marked ‘politically impossible’.’
    • ‘She articulates the quirky contours of her subjects - products of design and childhood fantasy - with bold painterly effects.’
    • ‘We use fantasy, conscious and unconscious, to explore things that have not happened and never will, to see in our mind's eye worlds out of reach.’
    • ‘After the 5-1 hammering of the first leg, progress in this year's Worthington Cup always looked beyond even the realms of fantasy.’
    • ‘Only the truly poor used drugs to escape into the realms of fantasy; most people used Virtual Reality systems, both legal and illegal.’
    imagination, creativity, fancy, invention, originality, vision, speculation, make-believe, daydreaming, reverie
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    1. 1.1 A fanciful mental image, typically one on which a person dwells at length or repeatedly and which reflects their conscious or unconscious wishes.
      ‘the notion of being independent is a child's ultimate fantasy’
      • ‘Instead, he explores his own dreams and fantasies in these often-unsettling images.’
      • ‘From Oprah to Jamie Oliver, in a culture dominated by images of fantasies and impossible ideals, we too frequently think that we should live like the people on TV.’
      • ‘It reflects real fantasies, not political needs.’
      • ‘All such pulls, many of them unconscious, are deployed to disrupt the proper aim of the work that is, for the patient to come to acknowledge and own his own unconscious wishes and fantasies.’
      • ‘It's one of those unstoppable childhood fantasies, like wishing you could fly, become invisible or eat candy for dinner.’
      • ‘It is well designed, and provides a forum for the expression of experiences, fantasies, mental states and the like related to sex.’
      • ‘Irigaray reads Freud very closely, not in order to better master his teachings, but rather to uncover his own unconscious fantasies and fears of the other sex.’
      • ‘There is a level at which these films are patriarchal wish - fulfilment fantasies, in which our troubles are resolved by a trustworthy father - figure.’
      • ‘They reveal unconscious motivating fantasies and wishes about one's identity.’
      • ‘Was she so crushed by exile and loss that her plays are wish fulfillment fantasies of revenge and triumph?’
      • ‘The stiller and quieter you are, the more they read into you all the fantasies they wish.’
      • ‘This image displayed a fantasy of a superior warrior caste, responsive to the demands of theater.’
      • ‘Imagine the most outrageous fantasy came true and she confessed her love and you two were married.’
      • ‘But I don't think that the latest set of paranoid fantasies reflect particularly well on him.’
      • ‘This is the dark mirror image of Roberts' fantasies about domestic bliss with Sue.’
      • ‘All day though, she had secretly entertained the idea and conjured up fanciful fantasies about her becoming a stage actress.’
      • ‘When we do that, we give ourselves the opportunity to reflect on the fantasies and anxieties that permeate our everyday lives.’
      • ‘While the setting evoked an escapist fantasy, the conversation dwelt obsessively on the harsh, inescapable realities of the moment.’
      • ‘Sometimes it is contained in images and unlikely fantasies and sometimes it is contained in behaviour that we recognize as being stupid but unexplained.’
      • ‘Everything else in his mind drowned itself in images and fantasies of the creature before him.’
      dream, daydream, pipe dream, flight of fancy, fanciful notion, wish, wishful thinking
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    2. 1.2 An idea with no basis in reality.
      ‘it is a misleading fantasy to suggest that the bill can be implemented’
      • ‘Aboriginal people were not regarded as human beings, and all cultures have their own sort of collective fantasies, and the idea of terra nullius was a collective fantasy.’
      • ‘All were quite capable of distinguishing between their own fantasies and reality, but most simply preferred to avoid the latter and embrace the former.’
      • ‘But in the end they were forced to admit, just as Ben and I had, that no matter how hard you try to breathe life into a fantasy, sometimes reality is the best you can hope to get.’
      • ‘Historical representations, the film suggests, remain in curious conversation across the realities and fantasies of culture and time.’
      • ‘For the 78-year-old Leeds-born millionaire, who made a career out of turning fantasies into reality, it was his own dream come true.’
      • ‘For Pirela, it's all about seeing his dreams become realities and watching his fantasies come to life.’
      • ‘As a child one goes through these wild imaginations frequently but seldom these fantasies come true in reality.’
      • ‘Employing a device used in numerous recent films, the director mixes day-to-day reality with Glass's fantasies in a manner both amusing and disturbing.’
      • ‘And the promise of better funding for libraries needs to become a reality not just a fantasy to prevent their permanent decline according to a recent report by campaign group Libris.’
      • ‘The manager gave the impression that the whole idea was a distant fantasy unworthy of immediate attention on Friday, but there was an element of enthusiasm too.’
      • ‘I've always considered myself somewhat of a hopeless romantic, armed with crazy ideas and retrospectively pitiful fantasies about ways to woo.’
      • ‘For a moment, I even allowed the event to fuel a little fantasy about the harsh reality of my rural existence.’
      • ‘Yes, moon launches are spectacular, but the Space Shuttle would turn our spaceward fantasies into reality.’
      • ‘If they are not stopped soon, these fantasies will soon be reality, and voting a thing of the past.’
      • ‘She had preferred a tissue of fantasies to this reality.’
      • ‘This is a Utopian idea perhaps, but no less a fantasy than the idea that the laws of copyright, born of the printing press, can evolve to match the economy today that they purport to control.’
      • ‘He or she has an idea, perhaps a fantasy of Africa.’
      • ‘But once Sir Alfred decides to make his fantasies into reality, he finds himself encountering unexpected obstacles.’
      • ‘Americans behave this way partly because they have so little understanding of the world and live in a fantasy concerning even the realities of their own country.’
      • ‘Once a mere fantasy, the idea of growing new, healthy heart tissue to replace damaged or diseased heart muscle is inching closer to reality.’
    3. 1.3 A genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world.
      • ‘Of course some popular genre fiction - fantasy, science fiction, crime - can be of a high calibre as well.’
      • ‘His articles on mythology, folklore, fantasy, and science fiction have appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals.’
      • ‘As they do for many adolescents and adults, fantasy and science fiction gave me fables that were spiritual and fables that explored the desire to be spiritual.’
      • ‘Where did it all start… if I were to pin point any particular instance, it was my fascination with dragons and the genre of science fiction / fantasy.’
      • ‘He is also a difficult writer to define, ranging from fantasy to science fiction and essays.’
      • ‘And yet why is it that African Americans are so little a part of genre science fiction and fantasy today?’
      • ‘This is also one reason why I remain so steadfastly resolute about concentrating on fantasy, science fiction and horror film.’
      • ‘But I think my favorite genre is fantasy, with historical fiction at a close second.’
      • ‘I'm not talking about the drama, musical, comedy, or the Western genres, but horror movies, science fiction, fantasy and thrillers.’
      • ‘From hard-edge science fiction to high-flown fantasy, comic books to film noir, high culture to sub-culture… we sink our teeth into it all!’
      • ‘It's a funny thing, but despite the fact that science fiction and fantasy are my genre fiction of choice, I never liked Lord of the Rings.’
      • ‘Still, his books are always packaged either as science fiction or as fantasy, which would seem to imply there's a meaningful distinction between the two.’
      • ‘That is why there is such a rich future for people of color in science fiction and fantasy, because the genre allows us to speculate on our future whether utopian or dystopian.’
      • ‘The Matrix, along with much fantasy and science fiction, is part of the undercurrents of our times which are rapidly coming to the surface.’
      • ‘I don't particularly care what subject it is, it could be romance, horror, adventure, fantasy etc.’
      • ‘Just by way of background: Locus concentrates on science fiction, fantasy and horror, and its web site always includes a generous amount of free info and lots of links to more of the same.’
      • ‘The immortal, crucified and resurrected fecundity of God pours into and out of every honest work of fantasy and science fiction.’
      • ‘I find there are too many negative connotations to genre writing, especially to the ever-so-popular science fiction / fantasy.’
      • ‘He has sold short stories in a range of genres, including romantic comedy, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.’
      • ‘The idea that empire is a Bad Thing suffuses almost all our imaginative worlds too: in the literature of science fiction and fantasy, in popular cinema, in video and computer games.’
      myth, legend, fable, fairy tale, romance
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    4. 1.4as modifier Denoting a competition or league in which participants select imaginary teams from among the players in a real sports league and score points according to the actual performance of their players.
      ‘he's my second-round draft choice in fantasy baseball this year’
      ‘look at their dedication to fantasy leagues and the enormous minutiae of the stats they memorize’
      • ‘Fantasy hockey has four weeks until the playoffs but to be fair most teams have played at least 24 games so far.’
      • ‘In fantasy basketball, a deadline deal can give your point guard a new sharpshooter to pad his assist stats.’
      • ‘In his personal time, Stephen blogs for his several fantasy hockey leagues.’
      • ‘The majority of fantasy leagues ended in Week 16.’
      • ‘Did you finish last in your fantasy baseball league last year?’
      • ‘One of the most difficult commodities to acquire in fantasy baseball is elite starting pitching.’
      • ‘Three first-round picks stepped up their games this season to the benefit of their fantasy basketball managers.’
      • ‘The 33-year-old southpaw is nothing more than a late-round gamble in standard mixed fantasy leagues.’
      • ‘Over the past month, they're the two most valuable pitchers in all of fantasy baseball.’
      • ‘In fantasy leagues, you don't have to pay him millions and millions, softening the blow if he ends up failing to meet your standards.’
  • 2Music
    A musical composition, free in form, typically involving variation on an existing work or the imaginative representation of a situation or story; a fantasia.

    • ‘He would often make me sit with him to listen to Don Giovanni, or the piano sonatas and fantasies, as if there were great secrets to share in the music.’
    • ‘He had studied to advantage the Elizabethan and Jacobean masters of the string fantasy.’
    • ‘Field also wrote fantasies and rondos (using popular melodies), études, waltzes, and works for piano duet.’
    • ‘Written for Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Die Natali is a fantasy on Christmas carols.’
    • ‘The programme will be something of a surprise comprising of a fantasy by Telemann, a suite or partita by Bach and Barry Guy's ‘Inachis’.’

verbfantasies, fantasying, fantasied

[with object]literary
  • Imagine the occurrence of; fantasize about.

    • ‘Also, had I previously seen someone else do this, or had once done it myself, or had once simply fantasied about doing it and had now, hearing the song again, remembered my fantasy?’
    • ‘Depression is guilt based, and relates to past fantasied or real events, while anxiety is based on the fear of some future fantasied catastrophe.’
    • ‘Webster's defines fetish as ‘an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion… an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification.’’
    • ‘The overstriving of the child suffering the ulcerative colitis is a life-saving maneuver, evoked by fantasied danger of abandonment to destructive forces.’
    • ‘Since they revealed little about the concentration camps, she fantasied stories of their courageous escapes.’


Late Middle English: from Old French fantasie, via Latin from Greek phantasia ‘imagination, appearance’, later ‘phantom’, from phantazein ‘make visible’. From the 16th to the 19th centuries the Latinized spelling phantasy was also used.