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[trans-fiks] /trænsˈfɪks/
verb (used with object), transfixed or transfixt, transfixing.
to make or hold motionless with amazement, awe, terror, etc.
to pierce through with or as if with a pointed weapon; impale.
to hold or fasten with or on something that pierces.
Origin of transfix
1580-90; < Latin trānsfīxus (past participle of trānsfīgere to pierce through), equivalent to trāns- trans- + fīg(ere) to pierce + -sus, variant of -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
[trans-fik-shuh n] /trænsˈfɪk ʃən/ (Show IPA),
untransfixed, adjective
1. fascinate, spellbind, engross, captivate, enthrall. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for transfixing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The eyes dominated the portrait, transfixing her with a blue stare.

  • She also pointed an extended finger at Mr. Aiken, as it were transfixing him.

    A Likely Story William De Morgan
  • Here was Junius turned gentleman and transfixing a State with satire.

    From the Easy Chair, vol. 1 George William Curtis
  • A remark which Dr. Bennett had once let fall recurred to me, transfixing me to my bed.

    One of My Sons Anna Katharine Green
  • He hated me, this Englishman, because I had been before him in transfixing the animal.

    The Adventures of Gerard Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Then, transfixing them on two pieces of stick, after the manner of red-men, they stuck them up before the fire to roast.

    The Big Otter R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for transfixing


verb (transitive) -fixes, -fixing, -fixed, -fixt
to render motionless, esp with horror or shock
to impale or fix with a sharp weapon or other device
(med) to cut through (a limb or other organ), as in amputation
Derived Forms
transfixion (trænsˈfɪkʃən) noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin transfīgere to pierce through, from trans- + fīgere to thrust in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for transfixing



1580s, "pierce through, impale," from Middle French transfixer, from Latin transfixus "impaled," past participle of transfigere "to impale, pierce through," from trans- "through" (see trans-) + figere "to fix, fasten" (see fix (v.)). Figurative sense of "make motionless or helpless, as with amazement, terror, or grief" is first recorded 1640s. Related: Transfixed; transfixing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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