Definition of idée fixe in US English:

idée fixe

nounPlural idées fixes

  • An idea or desire that dominates the mind; an obsession.

    • ‘Democracy is experimental for Dewey in that it allows, or should allow, a profound questioning of the idées fixes of the established order, even if, of course, much democratic politics will not take the form of such questioning.’
    • ‘The lecturer propagates his idée fixe with numerous sideswipes at the theories of his arch-rival, Gartner, and with a conviction and intensity that has us doubting his sanity.’
    • ‘It is no accident that the ‘sentry's solitude’ has become the idée fixe of Ajami's writing in recent years.’
    • ‘For whatever it's worth, they're doing the Coldplay thing better than Coldplay, sans the whole self-conscious, self-important idée fixe.’
    • ‘In fact, Jong's mining of her life for material has been her literary idée fixe.’
    • ‘This is a time to park ideological shoes outside and be prepared to reassess all kinds of old idées fixes, of right and left.’
    • ‘To call Thomas Jefferson a complex, paradoxical, and even contradictory figure is, by now, merely to repeat conventional wisdom that has become an idée fixe of Jefferson scholarship.’
    • ‘There is no doubt a ‘planning orthodoxy’ which creates idées fixes, which they simply cannot depart from.’
    • ‘Over the subsequent weeks, the woman's idée fixe about the room's yellow wallpaper develops into full-blown dementia.’
    • ‘And it was this solution, kept secret at first, that the merchant Boix-Vives worked on and perfected as he sat at the steering-wheel of his lorry, and which became ‘the Plan’, his idée fixe.’
    • ‘History, too, has not been kind to Miller's idées fixes.’
    • ‘Gray's mega-success is testament, as much as anything, to the power of the idée fixe; in his case, the repeated revelation that men and women have such different emotional needs they could be from different planets.’
    • ‘In any case, if an idée fixe takes hold in a society, it is unlikely to have appeared from nowhere.’
    • ‘They come from all parties, and none, but they have one common idée fixe: they hate the West.’
    • ‘Or you can believe that the CEO was hit on the head by a squash-ball and developed an idée fixe about animal welfare.’
    • ‘Churchill was not a man who let contradictory information interfere with his idées fixes.’
    • ‘We hear the idée fixe, the little snippet of melody that symbolized the Beloved, and then there's a wet brutal thud and two pizzicato beats to chart the head bouncing into the basket.’
    • ‘Mr Dombey is a man with an idée fixe, a pride in himself and in the achievement of his inherited business.’
    • ‘The point was to poke fun at such idées fixes (the blonde is gazing intelligently at a painting), but many women just felt patronized.’
    • ‘Every time her image appears in the artist's mind it is accompanied by a musical thought, the famous idée fixe of the symphony.’
    obsession, fixation, consuming passion, ruling passion, passion, mania, compulsion, preoccupation, enthusiasm, infatuation, addiction, fetish, craze, hobby horse
    View synonyms


French, literally ‘fixed idea’.


idée fixe

/iˌdeɪ ˈfiks//ēˌdā ˈfēks/