Fancy – What does “Fancy” mean in British slang?

Hello and Welcome back to Slang with me Louisa May Adams.

This show will give you the chance to hear, understand the origins and meanings of new slang and to use them immediately! So let’s get started…

Ok so today we will be looking at a word that I use all the time! This word is fancy. If you are an English language learner you most probably have heard this word before however I encounter students daily who do not fully understand how and when to use this word so let’s clear it up today!

Fancy F-A-N-C-Y is a verb with many meanings used all the time in the UK, especially in the south.

You may recognise fancy as an adjective from the Iggy Azelea song I am so fancy meaning to be elaborate or beautiful.

But today we will be exploring it when used as a verb. The first way you can use fancy is formally, to express to want to have or do something, for example “Do you fancy a drink this evening?” meaning “would you like a drink this evening?”

It can also be used with the ing form such as “I didn’t fancy swimming in that river” meaning I didn’t want to swim there.

We find many questions in the uk using fancy intertwined with slang referring to want. For example:

  • “Fancy a Cuppa?” meaning “Would you like a cup of tea?”
  • “Fancy a fag?”, meaning “Would you like a cigarette?”
  • “Fancy some grub” meaning “Do you want some food?”

So let’s look at the next meaning, In Uk slang fancy means to be sexually attracted to someone, for example “Wow all the boys really fancy Emily!” meaning all the boys found Emily very attractive.

Furthermore someone can can fancy themselves, however this has negative connotations and refers to someone who thinks they are very attractive or important. For example “Claire really fancies himself, doesn’t she?”. Meaning Claire thinks she is very important when other may not agree.

The last way we can use the verb fancy is to imagine or think that something is so. For example “He fancies himself as a bit of a singer.” meaning he imagines himself as a singer, not that he actually is one.

So there we go! One word 5 different meanings!

So whether you fancy a cup of tea, another person, or your self as fluent in slang good luck!

That’s our episode of the day, you can find us on our website and from there you can see our transcript and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and many more apps.

Let’s catch up soon to explore our next slang word.

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