FANCY (a shortened form, dating from the 15th century, of "fantasy," which is derived through the O. Fr. fantasie, modern fantaisie. from the Latinized form of the Gr., to show), display, showing forth, as a philosophical term, the presentative power of the mind. The word "fancy" and the older form "fantasy," which is now chiefly used poetically, was in its early application synonymous with imagination, the mental faculty of creating representations or images of things not present to the senses; it is more usually, in this sense, applied to the lighter forms of the imagination. "Fancy" also commonly means inclination, whim, caprice. The more learned form "phantasy," as also such words as "phantom" and "phantasm," is chiefly confined to visionary imaginings.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)