noun, plural fancies.
imagination or fantasy, especially as exercised in a capricious manner.
the artistic ability of creating unreal or whimsical imagery, decorative detail, etc., as in poetry or drawing.
a mental image or conception: He had happy fancies of being a famous actor.
an idea or opinion with little foundation; illusion: Her belief that she can sing is a mere fancy.
a caprice; whim; vagary: It was his fancy to fly to Paris occasionally for dinner.
capricious preference; inclination; a liking: to take a fancy to walking barefoot in the streets.
critical judgment; taste.
the breeding of animals to develop points of beauty or excellence.
the fancy, Archaic. people deeply interested in a sport, art, etc.
adjective, fancier, fanciest.
made, designed, grown, adapted, etc., to please the taste or fancy; of superfine quality or exceptional appeal: fancy goods; fancy fruits.
ornamental; decorative; not plain: a cake with a fancy icing.
depending on imagination or caprice; whimsical; irregular: a fancy conception of time.
bred to develop points of beauty or excellence, as an animal.
much too costly; exorbitant or extravagant: a consultant who charges fancy fees.
verb (used with object), fancied, fancying.
to form a conception of; picture to oneself: Fancy living with that egotist all your life!
to believe without being absolutely sure or certain: I fancy you are my new neighbor.
to take a liking to; like.
to breed to develop a special type of animal.
(used as an exclamation of mild surprise): They invited you, too? Fancy!
Verb phrases
fancy up, to make superficially showy by way of improvement: an old car fancied up with a bright new paint job.

1350–1400; Middle English fan(t)sy, syncopated variant of fantasie fantasy

fanciness, noun
unfancy, adjective

2. Fancy, fantasy, imagination refer to qualities in literature or other artistic composition. The creations of fancy are casual, whimsical, and often amusing, being at once less profound and less moving or inspiring than those of imagination: letting one's fancy play freely on a subject; an impish fancy. Fantasy now usually suggests an unrestrained or extravagant fancy, often resulting in caprice: The use of fantasy in art creates interesting results. The term and concept of creative imagination are less than two hundred years old; previously only the reproductive aspect had been recognized, hardly to be distinguished from memory. “Creative imagination” suggests that the memories of actual sights and experiences may so blend in the mind of the writer or artist as to produce something that has never existed before—often a hitherto unperceived vision of reality: to use imagination in portraying character and action. 3. thought, notion, impression, idea; phantasm. 5. quirk, humor, crotchet. 11. fine, elegant, choice. 12. decorated, ornate. 16. envision, conceive, imagine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fancy (ˈfænsɪ)
adj , -cier, -ciest
1.  not plain; ornamented or decorative: a fancy cake; fancy clothes
2.  requiring skill to perform; intricate: a fancy dance routine
3.  arising in the imagination; capricious or illusory
4.  (often used ironically) superior in quality or impressive: a fancy course in business administration
5.  higher than expected: fancy prices
6.  (of a domestic animal) bred for particular qualities
n , -cier, -ciest, -cies
7.  a sudden capricious idea; whim
8.  a sudden or irrational liking for a person or thing
9.  See imagination the power to conceive and represent decorative and novel imagery, esp in poetry. Fancy was held by Coleridge to be more casual and superficial than imagination
10.  an idea or thing produced by this
11.  a mental image
12.  taste or judgment, as in art of dress
13.  music fantasy, Also called: fantasia a composition for solo lute, keyboard, etc, current during the 16th and 17th centuries
14.  archaic the fancy those who follow a particular sport, esp prize fighting
vb , -cier, -ciest, -cies, -cies, -cying, -cied
15.  to picture in the imagination
16.  to suppose; imagine: I fancy it will rain
17.  (often used with a negative) to like: I don't fancy your chances!
18.  (reflexive) to have a high or ill-founded opinion of oneself: he fancied himself as a doctor
19.  informal to have a wish for; desire: she fancied some chocolate
20.  informal (Brit) to be physically attracted to (another person)
21.  to breed (animals) for particular characteristics
22.  Also: fancy that! an exclamation of surprise or disbelief
[C15 fantsy, shortened from fantasie; see fantasy]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c., contraction of fantasy, it took the older and longer word's sense of "inclination, whim, desire." The verb meaning "take a liking to" (1540s) is a contraction of fantasien "to fantasize (about)." Related: Fancied; fancies. The adj. is mid-18c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Another yeast-raised cake to our liking has a flat center, a braid around the
  edge, done as a fancy border.
If meat loaf means winter to you, think again, especially if you fancy meat
  loaf sandwiches.
Turn plain paper into fancy wrapping with a tropical star fruit and an ink pad.
There's nothing too fancy about these places, and your mug may even be chipped
  in spots.
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