Thursday, January 16, 2014

fancy that

The English language is riddled with expressions. We say them without a thought to origin. They tend to shift over time too, as some fall out of common use and new ones appear.
There are some expressions that just hang on though. They are very old, hundreds of years old and the meaning of the original words have changed completely. The words mean something new now, but the expression somehow retains the original nuance, the original usage.
Fancy that!
When we say 'fancy that' we are really saying 'imagine that,' because a fancy was 'an imagined thing' once upon a time in old english. Think of the words, fanciful and fantasy.
My grandson must have heard that expression. He used it at the right moment and with very similar wording but the meaning became fresh and new.
"How fancy is that!" he exclaimed.
How fancy indeed!

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