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).

Definitions of fixate
  1. verb
    pay attention to exclusively and obsessively
    “The media are fixating on Princess Diana's death”
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    type of:
    advert, attend, give ear, hang, pay heed
    give heed (to)
  2. verb
    attach (oneself) to a person or thing in a neurotic way
    “He fixates on his mother, even at the age of 40”
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    type of:
    attach, bind, bond, tie
    create social or emotional ties
  3. verb
    become fixed (on)
    “Her eyes fixated on a point on the horizon”
    synonyms: settle on
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    type of:
    freeze, stop dead
    stop moving or become immobilized
  4. verb
    make fixed, stable or stationary
    synonyms: fix
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    type of:
    cause to be attached
Word Family
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