idée fixe

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from French idée fixe ‘fixed idea’.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /iːdeɪˈfiːks/ (or as French IPA(key): /ide fiks/)

Noun[edit]

idée fixe (plural idées fixes)

  1. An idea dominating the mind; an obsession.
    • 1951, Isaac Asimov, Foundation (1974 Panther Books Ltd publication), part V: “The Merchant Princes”, chapter 13, page 171, ¶ 13
      [“]A foreign policy of domination through spiritual means is [Jorane Sutt’s] idée fixe, but it’s my notion that his ultimate aims aren’t spiritual.[”]
    • 2003, Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason, Penguin 2004, p. 182:
      The sage's solitary fantisizings about the heavens have turned monstrous, his yearnings for knowledge have swollen into idées fixes
    • 2009, Gary Clark, Quadrant, November 2009, No. 461 (Volume LIII, Number 11), Quadrant Magazine Limited, page 9:
      His conclusion though is illuminating, and established a theme that was to concern him for the next forty years of his life, becoming the idée fixe of works such as The Ghost in the Machine, The Act of Creation and the Roots of Coincidence.
  2. A recurring musical theme; a leitmotif.
    • Grove's dictionary of music and musicians, Volume 4, p. 793 (1922)
      a definite musical figure, called the 'idée fixe,' unifying the work throughout by its constant reappearance in various aspects and surroundings

Translations[edit]