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fan·tas·tic (făn-tăstĭk) also fan·tas·ti·cal (-tĭ-kəl)
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adj.
1.
a. Based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal: fantastic mythological creatures; the fantastic realms of science fiction.
b. Strange or fanciful in form, conception, or appearance: “The fire assumed fantastic shapes as he watched” (Ward Just).
2.
a. Unrealistic; irrational: “the early jubilant years of the Restoration with their fantastic hopes of a Golden Age and incorruptible power” (Janet Todd).
b. Exceedingly great in size or degree; extravagant: a fantastic sum of money.
3. Wonderful or superb; remarkable: a fantastic trip to Europe.
n.
An eccentric person.

[Middle English fantastik, imagined, from Old French fantastique, from Late Latin phantasticus, imaginary, from Greek phantastikos, able to create mental images, from phantazesthai, to appear; see FANTASY.]

fan·tasti·cali·ty (-tĭ-kălĭ-tē) n.
fan·tasti·cal·ly adv.

Synonyms: fantastic, bizarre, fanciful
These adjectives apply to what is very strange or strikingly unusual. Fantastic describes what seems to have slight relation to the real world because of its strangeness or extravagance: fantastic imaginary beasts such as the unicorn. Bizarre stresses oddness that is heightened by striking contrasts and incongruities and that shocks or fascinates: “a bizarre array of bellbottoms, floral shirts, shoes with brass buckles, white belts, orange hot pants, and miniskirts” (James S. Hirsch).
Fanciful applies to what is strongly influenced by imagination, caprice, or whimsy: “folksingers telling old tales in fanciful masks, wigs and costumes” (Anchee Min).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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