Whimsey vs Fancy – What’s the difference?

Whimsey vs Fancy - What's the difference?
Whimsey is a related term of fancy. As nouns the difference between whimsey and fancy is that whimsey is while fancy is the imagination. As an adjective fancy is decorative. As a verb fancy is (formal) to appreciate without jealousy or greed.





  • * Bancroft
  • mistaking the whimseys of a feverish brain for the calm revelation of truth



    Alternative forms

    * (all obsolete)



  • The imagination.
  • * Milton
  • In the soul / Are many lesser faculties, that serve / Reason as chief. Among these fancy next / Her office holds.
  • An image or representation of anything formed in the mind; conception; thought; idea.
  • * Shakespeare
  • How now, my lord! why do you keep alone, / Of sorriest fancies your companions making?
  • An opinion or notion formed without much reflection; an impression.
  • * John Locke
  • I have always had a fancy that learning might be made a play and recreation to children.
  • A whim.
  • I had a fancy to learn to play the flute.
  • Love or amorous attachment.
  • He took a fancy to her.
  • The object of inclination or liking.
  • * Shakespeare
  • to fit your fancies to your father’s will
  • Any sport or hobby pursued by a group.
  • Trainspotting is the fancy of a special lot.
    the cat fancy
  • The enthusiasts of such a pursuit.
  • He fell out of favor with the boxing fancy after the incident.
  • * De Quincey
  • a great book sale in London, which had congregated all the fancy
  • A diamond with a distinctive colour.
  • That which pleases or entertains the taste or caprice without much use or value.
  • * Mortimer
  • London pride is a pretty fancy for borders.
  • (obsolete) A sort of love song or light impromptu ballad.
  • (Shakespeare)
  • In the game of jacks, a style of play involving additional actions (contrasted with plainsies).
  • * 1970 , Marta Weigle, Follow my fancy: the book of jacks and jack games (page 22)
  • When you have mastered plainsies, the regular jack game, and have learned all the rules, you will be ready to use this part of the book. A fancy is a variation of plainsies which usually requires more skill than plainsies does.
  • * 2002 , Elizabeth Dana Jaffe, ?Sherry L. Field, ?Linda D. Labbo, Jacks (page 26)
  • When you get good at jacks, try adding a fancy . A fancy is an extra round at the end of a game. It makes the game a little harder. Jack Be Nimble, Around the World, or Black Widow are some fancies.

    Derived terms

    * flight of fancy
    * tickle someone’s fancy



  • Decorative.
  • This is a fancy shawl.
  • Of a superior grade.
  • This box contains bottles of the fancy grade of jelly.
  • Executed with skill.
  • He initiated the game winning play with a fancy , deked saucer pass to the winger.
  • (colloquial) Unnecessarily complicated.
  • I’m not keen on him and his fancy ideas.
  • (obsolete) Extravagant; above real value.
  • * Macaulay
  • This anxiety never degenerated into a monomania, like that which led his [Frederick the Great’s] father to pay fancy prices for giants.


    * (decorative) decorative, ornate
    * (unnecessarily complicated) highfalutin


    * (decorative) plain, simple
    * (unnecessarily complicated) simple



  • (formal) To appreciate without jealousy or greed.
  • I fancy your new car, but I like my old one just fine.
  • (British) would like
  • I fancy a burger tonight for dinner
    Do you fancy going to town this weekend?
  • (British, informal) To be sexually attracted to.
  • I fancy that girl over there.
  • (dated) To imagine, suppose.
  • I fancy you’ll want something to drink after your long journey.
    Fancy meeting you here!
    Fancy that! I saw Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy kissing in the garden.
  • * John Locke
  • If our search has reached no farther than simile and metaphor, we rather fancy than know.
  • * Thackeray
  • He fancied he was welcome, because those around him were his kinsmen.
  • * 1895 , H. G. Wells, The Time Machine Chapter X
  • I fancied at first the stuff was paraffin wax, and smashed the jar accordingly. But the odor of camphor was unmistakable.
  • To form a conception of; to portray in the mind; to imagine.
  • * Dryden
  • he whom I fancy , but can ne’er express
  • To have a fancy for; to like; to be pleased with, particularly on account of external appearance or manners.
  • * Shakespeare
  • We fancy not the cardinal.


    * (be sexually attracted to) like (US)
    * (would like to) feel like

    Derived terms

    * fancy that

    See also

    * fantasy
    * fancy man
    * fancy oneself
    * fancypants
    * fancy woman