idée fixe

\ (ˌ)ē-ˌdā-ˈfēks How to pronounce idée fixe (audio) \
plural idées fixes\ (ˌ)ē-​ˌdā-​ˈfēks How to pronounce idées fixes (audio) \

Definition of idée fixe

: an idea that dominates one's mind especially for a prolonged period : obsession

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Did You Know?

According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the term "idée fixe" was coined by French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830, who used it to describe the principal theme of his Symphonie fantastique. That reference goes on to say that, at about the same time, French novelist Honore de Balzac used "idée fixe" in Gobseck to describe an obsessive idea. By 1836, Balzac's more generalized use of the term had carried over into English, where "idée fixe" was embraced as a clinical and literary term for a persistent preoccupation or delusional idea that dominates a person's mind. Nowadays "idée fixe" is also applied to milder and more pedestrian obsessions.

Examples of idée fixe in a Sentence

had this bizarre idée fixe that people were spying on her with electromagnetic waves

First Known Use of idée fixe

1836, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for idée fixe

French, literally, fixed idea

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The first known use of idée fixe was in 1836

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Cite this Entry

“Idée fixe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for idée fixe

idée fixe

\ (ˌ)ē-ˌdā-ˈfēks \
plural idées fixes\ -​ˈfēks(-​əz) \

Medical Definition of idée fixe

: a usually delusional idea that dominates the whole mental life during a prolonged period (as in certain mental disorders)

called also fixed idea

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