Fixation is when something is stuck firmly to another surface — or when you mind is stuck obsessively on one person, thing, or idea. Your parents' fixation on healthy foods means fruit for dessert every single night.

The Latin root of fixation means "to fasten or fix," and fixation is used in this literal way in technical contexts. A science experiment might involve the fixation of one chemical to another, for example. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud is responsible for the "obsessive interest" meaning, emphasizing childhood fixations that carry into adulthood. You might see your attachment to your mobile phone as perfectly normal, while your parents consider it an unhealthy fixation.

Definitions of fixation
  1. noun
    the activity of fastening something firmly in position
    see moresee less
    type of:
    attachment, fastening
    the act of fastening things together
  2. noun
    an abnormal state in which development has stopped prematurely
    synonyms: arrested development, infantile fixation, regression
    see moresee less
    type of:
    abnormalcy, abnormality
    an abnormal physical condition resulting from defective genes or developmental deficiencies
  3. noun
    an unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something or someone
    synonyms: obsession
    see moresee less
    type of:
    an idea that preoccupies the mind and holds the attention
  4. noun
    (histology) the preservation and hardening of a tissue sample to retain as nearly as possible the same relations they had in the living body
    synonyms: fixing
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a process that saves organic substances from decay
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month