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verb (used with object), trans·fixed or trans·fixt, trans·fix·ing.
  1. to make or hold motionless with amazement, awe, terror, etc.
  2. to pierce through with or as if with a pointed weapon; impale.
  3. to hold or fasten with or on something that pierces.
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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 formstrans·fix·ion [trans-fik-shuhn] /trænsˈfɪk ʃən/, nounun·trans·fixed, adjective

Synonyms for transfix

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for transfixion

twinge, jab, coma, rapture, reverie, stupor, unconsciousness, blow, gash, prick, incision, wound, piercing, hurt, pang, rent, puncture, ache, thrust, jag

Examples from the Web for transfixion

Historical Examples of transfixion

  • During the transfixion care must be taken not to prick the bowel with the needle.

    A System of Operative Surgery, Volume IV (of 4)


  • "Transfixion" knives are of service when engaged upon very large animals, and here also come in the post-mortem hooks.

    Practical Taxidermy

    Montagu Browne

  • Making the long flap by transfixion, it may be held back by an assistant, and the joint cut into.

  • This may be made by transfixion at its base, but is better obtained by dissection from without.

  • In cases of iris bomb where iritis is still present, and in cases of cysts of the iris, transfixion is all that is necessary.

British Dictionary definitions for transfixion


verb -fixes, -fixing, -fixed or -fixt (tr)
  1. to render motionless, esp with horror or shock
  2. to impale or fix with a sharp weapon or other device
  3. med to cut through (a limb or other organ), as in amputation
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Derived Formstransfixion (trænsˈfɪkʃən), noun

Word Origin for transfix

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

Word Origin and History for transfixion



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

transfixion in Medicine


  1. In amputation, passing the knife from side to side through tissues close to the bone and dividing muscles from within outward.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.