Posted by Pamela on October 23, 2007
In Reply to: Fancy a nightcap posted by Bob on October 22, 2007
: : : Why do we say "fancy a nightcap" for the last drink of the day?
: : Putting a nightcap on one's head used to be a ritual just before going to sleep, and thought to encourage sleep. "Nightcap" has since been applied to a drink, usually alcoholic, taken just before bed and also thought to help induce sleep. Both Bovril and Ovaltine have been advertised as good nightcaps because they help induce sleep when taken just before bed. To fancy a nightcap means simply to like or be pleased with, to desire, a drink at the end of the evening.
: : SS
: It's worth mentioning that this usage is no doubt from the UK (or possibly Commonwealth). In the U.S., "fancy" (the verb) is never used. "Fancy" is an adjective here. We might say "care for" or "would you like" or "interested in?" a nightcap -- but not "fancy."
Yes, in Australia (part of the Commonwealth) we use fancy as a verb to mean "desire": "Fancy a drink?"; "Fancy a drive to the beach?". Of course, we also use fancy as an adjective ("My fancy show-off hat"). And even as a noun "It's my fancy that he'll ...". Pamela