tickle someone’s fancy

tickle someone’s fancy

Meaning

  • to attract or interest someone.
  • be attracted to.
  • lust after.
  • desire
  • pique one’s interest.
  • to be in one’s liking.
  • stir up or excite pleasantly.
  • to like or want something.
  • refers to something being funny.
  • to pursue a strong interest or something desirable to someone.
  • the word is used as a euphemism for strong sexual attraction or desire.

Examples in Sentences

  1. Does the menu have anything that tickles your fancy
  2. What tickles your fancy and why?
  3. Rich food tickles my fancy.
  4. The joke tickled my fancy.
  5. Tickling the fancy of a person. 
  6. Even though the joke was poor, it tickled the fancy of some individuals in the audience.
  7. Despite the car’s new design, I feel that it might not tickle someone’s fancy due to its engine failures.
  8. The steak is well-done, but the plating wouldn’t tickle my fancy.

Origin

To tickle, which means touching a person in sensitive places to provoke laughter, is an old proverb. People can use the word “tickle” figuratively to mean “to provoke amusement in somebody.” Fancy is also an old word. It is a contraction of “fantasy,” which means imagination. Later, “fancy”came to include caprice or whim, desire or individual taste, and other meanings.

This idiom traces its origins to the 1700s. Its original definition might have been closer to the modern euphemistic approach. One early known reference comes from a book by Abraham Tucker published in 1774. The book’s title is In the Light of Nature Pursued. The author writes about animals whose play would strike a joyous perception or, as we can say, tickle people’s fancy. People use the phrase when something pleases them strongly or engages their interest. Another way to use it is as a euphemism for sexual attraction or pleasure, particularly in women.

One other theory suggests that tickling someone’s fancy comes from two main words: “tickle” and “fancy.” “Tickle” refers to arousing strong interest, while “fancy” means desire or want. However, the word “fancy” was a substitute for “fanny,” which is a vulgar term for the buttocks or female genitals.

The term “tickles someone’s fancy” was used in Latin literature in the late 14th century, meaning “to touch to bring out the laughter.” The idiom was later used to arouse intense interest in the 17th century. Although the phrase was used as a reference to sexual desire after World War 2 by British soldiers, it still kept its original meaning to this date.

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