fix·​a·​tive | \ ˈfik-sə-tiv How to pronounce fixative (audio) \

Definition of fixative

: something that fixes or sets: such as
a : a substance added to a perfume especially to prevent too rapid evaporation
b : a substance used to fix living tissue
c : a varnish used especially for the protection of drawings (as in pastel or charcoal)

Other Words from fixative

fixative adjective

Examples of fixative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Going back to the religious boom of the 1950s, American political leaders have consistently reached for religion as a sort of all-purpose social fixative: a bedrock, shared faith in, well, the idea of faith. Matthew Sitman, The New Republic, 15 Apr. 2021 The variety is prized for its delicate flavors and also serves as a fixative, helping the gin to retain its citrus crispness. Jake Emen, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 May 2020 Wash the socks on cold in the washing machine with a fabric fixative. Elizabeth Paton, New York Times, 12 May 2020 Because analyzing the cells doesn't require the addition of fixatives or fluorescent dyes, ISL could be more consistent, less harmful to cultures, and enable longer-term monitoring of cellular health than traditional methods. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, 12 Apr. 2018 Previous techniques often required the use of dyes or fixatives to help see these molecules. Judith Vonberg, CNN, 4 Oct. 2017

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

First Known Use of fixative

circa 1859, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fixative

from fixative, adjective, "serving to fix," borrowed from New Latin fīxātīvus, from Medieval Latin fīxātus, past participle of fīxāre "to reduce a volatile substance (in alchemy)" (in New Latin, "to fix") + Latin -īvus -ive — more at fixation

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Time Traveler for fixative

Time Traveler

The first known use of fixative was circa 1859

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Cite this Entry

“Fixative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for fixative


fix·​a·​tive | \ ˈfik-sət-iv How to pronounce fixative (audio) \

Medical Definition of fixative

: a substance used to fix living tissue

More from Merriam-Webster on fixative Encyclopedia article about fixative


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