Definition of fixation in US English:



  • 1An obsessive interest in or feeling about someone or something.

    ‘our fixation with diet and fitness’
    ‘his fixation on the details of other people's erotic lives’
    • ‘Part of the media's fixation with his project was because it was so clearly his project, which he alone got off the ground.’
    • ‘This uplifting book mixes his own climbing stories with a learned investigation into man's fixation with dizzy heights.’
    • ‘A colleague of mine is forever marvelling at the methodical way in which I flip over my rotating calendar each morning, not recognising in the gesture my complete fixation with time.’
    • ‘The fixation on the veto, however, may divert attention from the important other underlying issues, namely those of representation and influence in the council.’
    • ‘But the its fixation with him and its desire to ‘defeat’ him at all costs led it into two serious and damaging misjudgements.’
    • ‘The inevitable outcome is confusion, and a true composer's fixation on a suitable creative path is a trial of strength against innumerable temptations.’
    • ‘The first to die, of course, are the young people, paying in blood for their generation's fixation with communication.’
    • ‘He said it could have been a blurring between his feelings about women and fixation with celebrities.’
    • ‘The media's fixation with what happens next was completely understandable.’
    • ‘The challenge was to switch off my brain - and its fixation on external goals like actually winning a point - and concentrate on my breath.’
    • ‘Our fixation with plastic surgery has given rise to complacency over safety issues.’
    • ‘The reason involves more than just our contemporary fixation on all things erotic.’
    • ‘Today more people die from bad egg salad than cougar attacks, but that does nothing to diminish our fixation on the remote possibility of a silent hunter pouncing on our backs.’
    • ‘Our fixation with labeling people and forcing them into tightly defined categories is contrary to our struggle for equality for all’
    • ‘The immediate cause of the rise and fall of the stockmarket over the past two years is the market's fixation with technology companies, in an overall climate of intense risk-aversion.’
    • ‘Regular readers will have noticed by now that this paper has a possibly unhealthy fixation on robots.’
    • ‘You might think that in a deflationary world, companies and consumers alike might give up their fixation with brands, and be more interested in price instead.’
    • ‘This fixation on olives logically extends to a deep identification with the associated concepts of ‘peace’ and ‘Greece’.’
    • ‘But for those who really couldn't care less, this book and the fuss surrounding it is probably confirmation, if one were needed, that the country's fixation with him is out of hand.’
    • ‘Similarly, one could also cite the much-deplored corporate fixation with the short-term maximisation of profits at the expense of longer-term strategies.’
    obsession with, preoccupation with, mania for
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Psychoanalysis The arresting of part of the libido at an immature stage, causing an obsessive attachment.
      ‘fixation at the oral phase might result in dependence on others’
      ‘an oral-maternal fixation’
      • ‘The reasons for this arrest are not clearly specified; but it was assumed that fixation at the oral stage might be the result of either deprivation or overgratification of the infant's oral needs.’
      • ‘This behavior ties directly into the oral fixation theories.’
      • ‘In most of these cases we speak of psychological obsessions or fixations.’
      • ‘The individual would have no conscious awareness of the nature of the fixation, but the libido would constantly turn away from the possibility of satisfaction in reality, towards a fantasy gratification.’
  • 2The action of making something firm or stable.

    ‘sand dune fixation’
    • ‘Thread ends were sandwiched between two layers of double-stick tape before fixation by sample grips.’
    • ‘Cementless fixation depends on prosthesis design plus ingrowth and overgrowth of bone to biologically bind the prosthesis to the skeleton.’
    • ‘Cemented fixation relies on a stable interface between the prosthesis and the cement and a solid mechanical bond between the cement and the bone.’
    • ‘Many surgeons remain advocates of cementless total knee arthroplasty; however, the majority of current procedures involve cemented fixation.’
    1. 2.1 The process by which some plants and microorganisms incorporate gaseous nitrogen or carbon dioxide to form nongaseous compounds.
      ‘his work on nitrogen fixation in plants’
      • ‘The positive influence of legumes is likely caused by their fixation of atmospheric nitrogen.’
      • ‘Industrial fixation of nitrogen for fertilizer and other human activities has more than doubled the rates of terrestrial fixation of gaseous nitrogen into biologically available forms.’
      • ‘Carbon dioxide fixation and light absorption takes place in the plant shoot parts, mostly leaf blades.’
      • ‘These grass species carry out C4 photosynthesis, an important adaptation that increases the efficiency of CO 2 fixation in plants.’
      • ‘It is well known that the rate of N 2 fixation in plants deficient in P is reduced.’
    2. 2.2Biology The process of preserving or stabilizing (a specimen) with a chemical substance prior to microscopy or other examination.
      ‘biopsy specimens were placed in cassettes before fixation in formalin’
      • ‘The remaining tissue was submitted for fixation in buffered formalin and routinely processed.’
      • ‘Bone marrow biopsy material was acid decalcified prior to formalin fixation.’
      • ‘Cells were cultured for a further 24 h prior to fixation and staining.’
      • ‘Figure 2 D shows a section taken from a dehydrated but unfrozen specimen that had not been allowed to re-hydrate prior to fixation.’
      • ‘Finally, it is worth noting that a full examination of protoplast contents was not possible due to poor fixation of specimens.’
  • 3technical The action of concentrating the eyes directly on something.

    ‘during the period of total blindness there was a complete absence of visual fixation’
    • ‘The pattern of fixations and saccades during visual exploration of a scene using only the eyes is strikingly similar to the intermittent locomotion of an animal searching for food in a physical landscape.’
    • ‘In other words, when foraging, whooping cranes favor visual fixation.’
    • ‘These are necessary for maintaining visual fixation when the head moves.’


Late Middle English (originally as an alchemical term denoting the process of reducing a volatile spirit or essence to a permanent bodily form): from medieval Latin fixatio(n-), from fixare (see fix).