The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Fancy \Fan"cy\ (f[a^]n"s[y^]), n.; pl. Fancies. [Contr. fr.
fantasy, OF. fantasie, fantaisie, F. fantaisie, L. phantasia,
fr. Gr. ???????? appearance, imagination, the power of
perception and presentation in the mind, fr. ???????? to make
visible, to place before one's mind, fr. ??????? to show;
akin to ????, ???, light, Skr. bh[=a]to shine. Cf. Fantasy,
Fantasia, Epiphany, Phantom.]
1. The faculty by which the mind forms an image or a
representation of anything perceived before; the power of
combining and modifying such objects into new pictures or
images; the power of readily and happily creating and
recalling such objects for the purpose of amusement, wit,
or embellishment; imagination.
In the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief. Among these fancy next
Her office holds. --Milton.
2. An image or representation of anything formed in the mind;
conception; thought; idea; conceit.
How now, my lord ! why do you keep alone,
Of sorriest fancies your companoins making ? --Shak.
3. An opinion or notion formed without much reflection;
caprice; whim; impression.
I have always had a fancy that learning might be
made a play and recreation to children. --Locke.
4. Inclination; liking, formed by caprice rather than reason;
as, to strike one's fancy; hence, the object of
inclination or liking.
To fit your fancies to your father's will. --Shak.
5. That which pleases or entertains the taste or caprice
without much use or value.
London pride is a pretty fancy for borders.
6. A sort of love song or light impromptu ballad. [Obs.]
The fancy, all of a class who exhibit and cultivate any
peculiar taste or fancy; hence, especially, sporting
characters taken collectively, or any specific class of
them, as jockeys, gamblers, prize fighters, etc.
At a great book sale in London, which had
congregated all the fancy. --De Quincey.
Syn: Imagination; conceit; taste; humor; inclination; whim;
liking. See Imagination.