fix·​ate | \ ˈfik-ˌsāt How to pronounce fixate (audio) \
fixated; fixating

Definition of fixate

transitive verb

1 : to make fixed, stationary, or unchanging
2 : to focus one's gaze on
3 : to direct (the libido) toward an infantile form of gratification

intransitive verb

1 : to focus or concentrate one's gaze or attention intently or obsessively
2 : to undergo arrestment at a stage of development

Examples of fixate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Many artists have become fixated on the creation of a particular shape or motif throughout their lives: Jasper Johns and flags; Pablo Picasso and guitars; Louise Bourgeois and spiders. Megan O’grady, New York Times, "The Constellation of Frank Stella," 18 Mar. 2020 Television shows and films about the immigrant experience often fixate on the way the older generation misunderstands or expects too much of the quicker-to-assimilate younger one. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "Why Tigertail Is So Resonant During the Pandemic," 14 Apr. 2020 Their brains can become fixated, ruminating on worrying thoughts, without the prefrontal cortex regulating those intense feelings. Sara Harrison, Wired, "Why Stress-Baking and Cleaning Make You Less Anxious," 27 Mar. 2020 As crack cocaine in its time preyed disproportionately on blacks, opioid deaths fixated (until only recently) on whites, each cohort exceedingly vulnerable in its time. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, "Why Deaths of Despair Are Rising," 10 Mar. 2020 More: Michigan State basketball works to fix, not fixate, on problems after blowout loss Junior forward Nate Reuvers is averaging 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, while sophomore guard Kobe King is averaging 10.7 points. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "No. 14 Michigan State basketball vs. Wisconsin: Scouting report, prediction," 16 Jan. 2020 Most people fixated on Upstead, and the very possible almost-confession that Upton has feelings for Halstead (who's alive, thank goodness). Megan Stein, Country Living, "'Chicago P.D.’ Made a Major Revelation About Halstead and Upton and Everyone Lost It," 12 Jan. 2020 Kassab said she’s been fixated on this goal for the past five years. Andrew Theen | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "TriMet’s longest-tenured bus driver takes home agency’s top safety award, says ‘attitude is everything’," 24 Nov. 2019 Miller’s family and friends testified he was fixated on high-profile killings of African Americans by police. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Everett Miller trial: Marine was suffering from PTSD, fixated on police shootings before killing Kissimmee cops, witnesses say," 6 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fixate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fixate

1885, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fixate

probably back-formation from fixation, in part as translation of German fixieren

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Time Traveler for fixate

Time Traveler

The first known use of fixate was in 1885

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Statistics for fixate

Last Updated

8 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fixate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce fixate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fixate

: to look at or think about something constantly : to give all of your attention to something


fix·​ate | \ ˈfik-ˌsāt How to pronounce fixate (audio) \
fixated; fixating

Medical Definition of fixate

transitive verb

1 : to focus one's gaze on
2 : to direct (the libido) toward an infantile form of gratification

intransitive verb

1 : to focus or concentrate one's gaze or attention an infant with normal vision…will fixate on a light held before himJournal of the American Medical Association
2 : to undergo arrestment at a stage of development

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More from Merriam-Webster on fixate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fixate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fixate

Spanish Central: Translation of fixate

Nglish: Translation of fixate for Spanish Speakers

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