Fancy that!

As I’ve mentioned several times, when I’m writing I don’t like to repeat myself, unless it is for a particular effect or reason, but I find when I read through what I’ve written, I often use the same words and phrases too many times.  When a story is finished and I’m getting it ready to publish, I check it through really carefully, trying to weed out those annoying repeats. Some words obviously are more common and the same word can have two or more meanings and so be used in two or more ways, but even so, I like to avoid too many repetitions.

I was working on my next story to be published ‘Lucky Portbraddon’, and noticed that the word ‘fancy’ cropped up regularly… used in different ways it’s true, but still it was there too often for my liking. I’ve been through and changed things around, but I got to wondering about fancy do the different meanings all have the same origin, I guess they do… but do they?

Apparently ‘fancy’ comes from ‘fantasy’ which in turn comes from Old French meaning a vision or an imaginary thing; this as one might guess comes from Greek via Latin and is connected to or derived from the Greek word for light which we know in phosphorous, and pharos the lighthouse. However even early on, hundreds of years ago, there was a connection with the idea of imagining, day-dreaming, having a vision in the sense of making something up in your head… (I do this all the time!)

Back to ‘fancy’… it began to mean to like something, or be inclined to it, as, I guess, to fancy something or someone. This is how it often cropped up in my novel, with various characters either fancying someone or wondering if the someone fancied them. Is this still a current expression for being interested in a romantic way with someone?  Fancy as in ‘I fancy an ice cream/pint of beer/going for a walk is still in use,, but as in ‘he fancies her…’ do people still say that?

Fancy as meaning ornate was first recorded about two hundred years ago, and a fancy man apparently was found as early as 1811 – but was that fancy man a man who was fashionable, or fancy-man as in a woman’s boyfriend? I guess it is from this use of the word that we get ‘fancies’ meaning little cakes, and ‘fancy rats’ mean pet rats, or pigeon-fanciers’ meaning people who keep and breed prize pigeons.

If you haven’t yet read my other books, here is a link…

…and here is a list, which I know is a bit of a muddle, but I fancy you’ll get the drift!

  • a passing fancy
  • a domestic animal bred for particular qualities
  • a fancy dance routine
  • a little of what you fancy does you good
  • a mental image
  • classical music  during the 16th and 17th centuries
  • a sudden capricious idea or  whim
  • a sudden or irrational liking for a person or thing
  • an idea or thing
  • fancy footwork
  • fancy meeting you here!
  • fancy someone for something:
  • fancy someone to do something:
  • fancy that!
  • fancy your chances
  • fancy yourself
  • fancy cake
  • fancy clothes.
  • fancy some chocolate/beer/ice-cream etc
  • fancy someone as  something
  • fancy someone as someone
  • fancy someone’s chances
  • fancy-pants
  • flight of fancy
  • footloose and fancy free
  • strike somebody’s fancy
  • take a fancy to
  • take somebody’s fancy
  • the ability to conceive and represent something
  • the fancy archaic(people ho follow a particular sport, particularly prize fighting)
  • tickle somebody’s fancy
  • to catch someone’s fancy
  • to be physically attracted to (another person)
  • to believe or imagine that something is true
  • to have a high or ill-founded opinion of oneself
  • to suppose, imagine
  • used ironically

… and here is a more coherent explanation:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.