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  1. retro's Avatar
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    #1

    Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    Hello!

    According to Oxford the verb fancy is only used in BrE. Is it true? If not, please include all the meanings of that in AmE.

    Thank you!

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    #2

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    This is the American Heritage entry: http://www.bartleby.com/61/3/F0030300.html

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    This is the American Heritage entry: http://www.bartleby.com/61/3/F0030300.html
    The trouble is, that dictionary doesn't do justice to current colloquial BE. All it says about the relevant verbal use is "2. To take a fancy to; like." In current colloquial BE it refers in particular to taking a superficially sexual fancy to - as in "after he's had a few drinks, he'll fancy anything in a skirt". Maybe this is the usage that occurs only in BE (and among relatively young speakers); perhaps a speaker of AmE will enlighten us.

    b

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    I've thought of two other (though related) usages that go further than AHD's definition "2. To take a fancy to; like."

    a) To expect to win (in a race): "Which horse do you fancy?"

    b) To have high expectations (often in a context not connected with sport): "I'll try, but I don't fancy my chances."

    b

  4. Philly's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    Hi Bob
    .
    Apparently retro has looked at the Oxford Dictionary and the definitions you've mentioned are also mentioned in the OED. But I wouldn't expect to hear those usages in the US. I'd say the use of fancy as a verb is pretty limited in AmE.
    .

  5. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    I agree with Philly - about the only time you hear "fancy" used as a verb in AmE is in old films where the lead actor wears an ascot and a smoking jacket, and asks the Beautiful Blonde, "Do you fancy having a drink with me in my suite?"

    In AmE, "fancy" is primarily used as an adjective, and quite often in a sarcastic sense.

  6. retro's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    Thanx all of you!
    Last edited by retro; 25-Sep-2006 at 00:33.

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    #8

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The trouble is, that dictionary doesn't do justice to current colloquial BE.
    Ahh, but the question was about AE usage, so I headed for that as a solid AE source.

  7. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Ahh, but the question was about AE usage, so I headed for that as a solid AE source.

  8. #10

    Re: Is the verb FANCY used in AmE?

    I would add to Ouisch's reference to sarcastic use. Actually, fancy is used as a verb in a very biting ironic sense in ame often enough so that few would mistake your meaning. In the same way that we were still using "groovy" well into the eighties to refer to something that was absolutely not cool or groovy at all. If some idiot spun his automobile tires to show off the noise and smoke in front of a crowd, one could always get a dervisive laugh out of the hipper members of the group by drawling "groovy" with as much sarcasm as you could give to it.

    Same applies to the use of "fancy that" even now. Very few ame speakers would miss the irony of a well placed "fancy that", delivered sarcastically, perhaps even with a little hint of British accent, when something (or even someone) has been proposed that is clearly not credible or welcomed. It plays on a latent prejudice we seem to have against perceived upper-class British pretensions. If someone in the room is acting an obvious boor, and has just delivered another ridiculous boast, there is almost no phrase more useful to the ame speaker, delivered in whispers to someone nearby, than a sarcastic, "well, fancy that!". (I'm not very current with colloquial British usage, but I kind of suspect that it's original use is considered out of fashion and has evolved toward (or devolved into?) irony among you as well.)

    Only last week here in Michigan, in a large business meeting, our boss was sermonizing on the goals that had been met through a recent bout of almost unrelenting overtime and forgone vacations among the large group assembled. We were proud of our accomplishments, but he's not widely admired among us and notoriously ungenerous with compensation in any form. When he at last announced something along the lines of a little office party at weeks end with pizza delivered, there could be heard a little "fancy that" just loudly enough from the back row for about half of us to hear. It was almost impossible to hold back the laughter!
    Last edited by wsemajb; 25-Sep-2006 at 19:22.

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