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[fan-si-fuh l] /ˈfæn sɪ fəl/
characterized by or showing fancy; capricious or whimsical in appearance:
a fanciful design of butterflies and flowers.
suggested by fancy; imaginary; unreal:
fanciful lands of romance.
led by fancy rather than by reason and experience; whimsical:
a fanciful mind.
Origin of fanciful
1620-30; fancy + -ful
Related forms
fancifully, adverb
fancifulness, noun
overfanciful, adjective
overfancifully, adverb
overfancifulness, noun
unfanciful, adjective
2. visionary, baseless, illusory. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fanciful
  • Each corner of her house displays evidence of her talent for creating an ambience both fanciful and romantic.
  • These animals can be fanciful but must show evidence of special adaptations to the conditions in which they live.
  • But lightning flickers above thunderstorms too, where the ghostly flashes have such fanciful names as elves and sprites.
  • Plenty of people get away with using fanciful names.
  • Unfortunately, the skill of learning how to learn from consequences is manifest as fanciful fictional mysticism.
  • Thoughts ranged in wilder and more fanciful directions.
  • These maps were generally simple and sometimes fanciful.
  • The moons are exaggerated in this artist's fanciful conception.
  • Interior decorators and paint manufacturers, among others, are constantly coming up with ever more fanciful color names.
  • Better to maintain this record, surely, than to devise fanciful ways of correcting it.
British Dictionary definitions for fanciful


not based on fact; dubious or imaginary: fanciful notions
made or designed in a curious, intricate, or imaginative way
indulging in or influenced by fancy; whimsical
Derived Forms
fancifully, adverb
fancifulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fanciful

1620s, from fancy (n.) + -ful. Related: Fancifully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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