idée fixe

noun \ (ˌ)ē-ˌdā-ˈfēks \

Definition of idée fixe

plural idées fixes play \(ˌ)ē-ˌdā-ˈfēks\
: an idea that dominates one's mind especially for a prolonged period : obsession

idée fixe was our Word of the Day on 08/22/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of idée fixe in a Sentence

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

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.

Origin and Etymology of idée fixe

French, literally, fixed idea


Medical Dictionary

idée fixe

noun \ (ˌ)ē-ˌdā-ˈfēks \

medical Definition of idée fixe

plural idées fixes \-ˈfēks(-əz)\
: 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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