transfix

Use the verb transfix when something makes you freeze in fascination or fear. Your belly dancing moves might transfix your dance recital audience.

You might describe the way the last minutes of a scary movie transfix your whole family, leaving them on the edge of their seats, or how the photographs in a gallery transfix you with their beauty. The word comes from transfixus, "impaled" in Latin, which in turn is rooted in trans, "through or across," and figere, "to fasten."

Definitions of transfix
  1. verb
    to render motionless, as with a fixed stare or by arousing terror or awe
    synonyms: fascinate, grip, spellbind
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    type of:
    interest
    excite the curiosity of; engage the interest of
  2. verb
    pierce with a sharp stake or point
    synonyms: empale, impale, spike
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    types:
    pin
    pierce with a pin
    spear
    pierce with a spear
    skewer, spit
    drive a skewer through
    type of:
    pierce, thrust
    penetrate or cut through with a sharp instrument
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