If you fixate on something, you become overly focused on it or attached to it. Don't fixate on your grades — try to enjoy the process of learning!

While the original 19th century meaning of fixate was "make stable," it soon came to mean "gaze upon." It was Sigmund Freud who shifted the definition to something more obsessive. His theories of psychoanalysis included the concept of fixation, an unhealthy attachment to something or someone — and fixate followed. You can fixate on small things (like a stain on your sweater) or big things (like world poverty).

Primary Meanings of fixate

pay attention to exclusively and obsessively
make fixed, stable or stationary
Full Definitions of fixate

v pay attention to exclusively and obsessively

“The media are fixating on Princess Diana's death”
Type of:
advert, attend, give ear, hang, pay heed
give heed (to)

v attach (oneself) to a person or thing in a neurotic way

“He fixates on his mother, even at the age of 40”
Type of:
attach, bind, bond, tie
create social or emotional ties

v become fixed (on)

“Her eyes fixated on a point on the horizon”
settle on
Type of:
freeze, stop dead
stop moving or become immobilized

v make fixed, stable or stationary

Type of:
cause to be attached

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