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1885, "to fix, make stable," from fix (v.) + -ate. Meaning "to gaze upon" is from 1889. Psychological sense is from 1926, originally in Freudian theory, in this case perhaps a back-formation from fixation. Related: Fixated; fixating.
fixate fix·ate (fĭk'sāt')v. fix·at·ed, fix·at·ing, fix·ates
To make fixed, stable, or stationary.
To focus one's eyes or attention on.
To develop a fixation; become attached to in an immature or neurotic way.