fix·​a·​tive | \ˈfik-sə-tiv \

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)

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Other Words from fixative

fixative adjective

Examples of fixative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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, "AI Learns a New Trick: Measuring Brain Cells," 12 Apr. 2018 Previous techniques often required the use of dyes or fixatives to help see these molecules. Judith Vonberg, CNN, "Scientists awarded Nobel prize in chemistry for work to visualize biomolecules," 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

The first known use of fixative was circa 1859

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More Definitions for fixative


fix·​a·​tive | \ˈfik-sət-iv \

Medical Definition of fixative 

: a substance used to fix living tissue

More from Merriam-Webster on fixative Encyclopedia article about fixative

Comments on fixative

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


living or existing for a long time

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