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

But while Washington fixates on its palace dramas, Afghanistan is on a knife-edge. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "After Trump’s failed Afghanistan gambit, violence and uncertainty remains," 13 Sep. 2019 His focus fixated on history, Riggleman was evaluating the matchup in his head. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Fukushima is hoping for some Olympic gold," 13 Aug. 2019 Through Wilson, Manson met other music-industry players and grew increasingly fixated on stardom, all the while exercising greater and greater control over the group that came to be known as the Manson Family. Angela Serratore, Smithsonian, "What You Need to Know About the Manson Family Murders," 25 July 2019 Whether Bailey embodies the spirit of the headstrong teenage mermaid, however, appeared to not matter to critics, who instead fixated on the animated character's physical look., "Disney network slaps back at notion Ariel has to be a white, blue-eyed redhead," 9 July 2019 The Conservative Party’s membership has become fixated on Brexit at any cost. The Economist, "Conservatism is fighting for its life against reactionary nationalism," 4 July 2019 While the Superbad protagonists are primarily fixated on getting a fake ID to buy party booze, one scene from Good Boys finds Lucas and friends paralyzed with fear while attempting to cross a busy, multi-lane highway. Christian Holub,, "Good Boys star Keith L. Williams on perfecting that scream and learning from Superbad," 16 Aug. 2019 In recent years, while we were fixated on ISIS, al-Qaeda became stronger, more resilient, and more battle-hardened. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Losing the War in Forgotten Afghanistan," 10 Aug. 2019 While many investors were fixated on the U.S. Federal Reserve yesterday, emerging market investors had two different accounting scandals to contemplate. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "In India and China, Scandals Blunt Investor Confidence: CEO Daily," 1 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fixate

Dictionary Entries near fixate

five-year plan







Statistics for fixate

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fixate

The first known use of fixate was in 1885

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fixate



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fixate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fixate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fixate

Spanish Central: Translation of fixate

Nglish: Translation of fixate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on fixate

What made you want to look up fixate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


transposition of initial sounds of words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!