The adjective fantastic has two meanings — extraordinarily brilliant or ludicrously far-fetched. So when your boss calls your suggestion of work-at-home-in-your-bathrobe-Fridays for the whole office fantastic, be sure you know which one he means.

We get fantastic from the Latin phantasticus, meaning “imaginary.” Sometimes it’s still used that way: If you call a unicorn a fantastic beast, you’re not paying it a compliment; you’re saying it exists only in fairy tales. Most often, though, fantastic means strikingly out-of-the-ordinary. It can be complimentary ("You got an A? Fantastic!") or disparaging ("He was always foolishly unrealistic, but trying to reach the moon using a balloon tied to his bicycle was his most fantastic idea yet.").

Definitions of fantastic
  1. adjective
    extravagantly fanciful in design, construction, appearance
    “Gaudi's fantastic architecture”
    not plain; decorative or ornamented
  2. adjective
    existing in fancy only
    “" fantastic figures with bulbous heads the circumference of a bushel"- Nathaniel Hawthorne”
    synonyms: fantastical
    lacking in reality or substance or genuineness; not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria
  3. adjective
    fanciful and unrealistic; foolish
    “a fantastic idea of his own importance”
    synonyms: wild
    not realistic
  4. adjective
    ludicrously odd
    fantastic Halloween costumes”
    synonyms: antic, fantastical, grotesque
    strange, unusual
    being definitely out of the ordinary and unexpected; slightly odd or even a bit weird
  5. adjective
    extraordinarily good or great ; used especially as intensifiers
    “the film was fantastic!”
    synonyms: grand, howling, incredible, marvellous, marvelous, rattling, terrific, tremendous, wonderful, wondrous
    beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable
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