use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

fix (fĭks)
Share:
v. fixed, fix·ing, fix·es
v.tr.
1.
a. To correct or set right; adjust: fix a misspelling; fix the out-of-date accounts.
b. To restore to proper condition or working order; repair: fix a broken machine.
2.
a. To make ready for a specific purpose, as by altering or combining elements; prepare: fixed the room for the guests; fix lunch for the kids.
b. To spay or castrate (an animal).
c. To influence the outcome or actions of (something) by improper or unlawful means: fix a prizefight; fix a jury.
d. Informal To take revenge upon (someone); get even with.
3.
a. To place securely; make stable or firm: fixed the tent poles in the ground. See Synonyms at fasten.
b. To secure to another; attach: fixing the notice to the board with tacks.
4.
a. To put into a stable or unalterable form: tried to fix the conversation in her memory.
b. To make (a chemical substance) nonvolatile or solid.
c. Biology To convert (nitrogen or carbon) into stable, biologically assimilable compounds.
d. To kill and preserve (a specimen) intact for microscopic study.
e. To prevent discoloration of (a photographic image) by washing or coating with a chemical preservative.
5. To direct steadily: fixed her eyes on the road ahead.
6. To capture or hold: The man with the long beard fixed our attention.
7.
a. To set or place definitely; establish: fixed her residence in a coastal village.
b. To determine with accuracy; ascertain: fixed the date of the ancient artifacts.
c. To agree on; arrange: fix a time to meet.
8. To assign; attribute: fixing the blame.
9. Computers To convert (data) from floating-point notation to fixed-point notation.
v.intr.
1. To direct one's efforts or attention; concentrate: We fixed on the immediate goal.
2. To become stable or firm; harden: Fresh plaster will fix in a few hours.
3. Chiefly Southern US To be on the verge of; to be making preparations for. Used in progressive tenses with the infinitive: We were fixing to leave without you.
n.
1.
a. The act of adjusting, correcting, or repairing.
b. Informal Something that repairs or restores; a solution: no easy fix for an intractable problem.
2. The position, as of a ship or aircraft, determined by visual observations with the aid of equipment.
3. A clear determination or understanding: a briefing that gave us a fix on the current situation.
4. An instance of arranging a special consideration, such as an exemption from a requirement, or an improper or illegal outcome, especially by means of bribery.
5. A difficult or embarrassing situation; a predicament: "If we get left on this wreck we are in a fix" (Mark Twain). See Synonyms at predicament.
6. Slang An amount or dose of something craved, especially an intravenous injection of a narcotic.
Phrasal Verb:
fix up
1. To improve the appearance or condition of; refurbish.
2. To provide; equip.
3. Informal To provide a companion on a date for: fixed me up with an escort at the last minute.
Idiom:
fix (someone's) wagon
To get revenge on another.

[Middle English fixen, from fix, fixed in position, from Latin fīxus, past participle of fīgere, to fasten; see dhīgw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

fixa·ble adj.

Our Living Language Fixin' to ranks with y'all as one of the best known markers of dialects of the Southern United States, although it occasionally appears in the informal speech and writing of non-Southerners as well. Fixin' to means "on the verge of or in preparation for (doing a given thing)." It often follows a form of the verb to be, and it consists of the present participle of the verb fix followed by the infinitive marker to: They were fixin' to leave without me. Although locutions like is fixin' to can be used somewhat like the auxiliary verb will in sentences that describe future events, fixin' to can refer only to events that immediately follow the speaker's point of reference. One cannot say, We're fixin' to have a baby in a couple of years. The use of fixin' to as an immediate or proximate future is very common in African American Vernacular English, and is one of many features that this variety of English shares with Southern dialects. Although this expression sometimes appears in writing as fixing to, in speech it is usually pronounced fixin' to.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.