What Does “Footloose and Fancy Free” Mean and Where Did the Expression Come From?

To be footloose and fancy-free means to be free from any responsibilities, or in other words, to be single.

The expression started appearing in print around 1700 with footloose simply meaning your ankles were unshackled so you could go anywhere you wanted.

Fancy was a sixteenth-century word for being attracted to someone of the opposite sex.

If you weren’t in love, you were “fancy-free.”