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Once upon a time, I chose the word 'fancy' as my nickname in real life (e.g. "feel free to call me 'Fancy' sometimes") because I thought it's a good word, which have a sense of elegantly fashionable or sophisticated or of superior grade; fine.

But later on, some of my American friends (I'm not quite sure where they were born, but one of them worked in Oregon) suggested that I should change that name because fancy is used to describe a gay person. I felt embarrassed so I looked it up, but I couldn't find any dictionaries have it defined. The closest definition I got is:

c. To take a romantic interest in (someone): Do you think he fancies her?

But it seems it's not relevant to anything gay. So, is it common to use fancy to describe a gay person? Is it a regional usage (I guess it's mainly in the US)?

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  • You don't normally "choose a nickname" Your nickname is usually just a shortening of your name "Daniel -> Dan" for example. Sometimes people are known for particular acts or features but these are chosen by their friends: "We call him 'hedgehog' because of his spikey hair". But can't just choose a word for a nickname.
    – James K
    Mar 3, 2019 at 15:30

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The word fancy itself is not registered in dictionaries as someone (especially male) who is gay, though there are some compound nouns that have fancy in them:

fancy man (male lover)

fancy pants (conceited, narcissistic male person)

fancy Dan (~ fop, dandy, jemmy, toff (GB), clothes-horse, beau)

The last one is the closest to someone who might be referred to as gay, so there must be a reason why some people (or Americans, as you wrote) use this word. Perhaps they left Dan off the word, and so they coined a word with a new meaning (though it is my supposition). And if it's only regionally used, I can't tell.

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  • I can't find the reference of "fancy Dam" on the web.
    – dan
    Aug 21, 2018 at 8:53
  • Sorry, I misspelled it! I corrected the word. It's "fancy Dan."
    – user68840
    Aug 22, 2018 at 7:26

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