Definition of fixative in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfiksədiv/


1A chemical substance used to preserve or stabilize biological material prior to microscopy or other examination: an alcoholic fixative ten double drops of fixative
More example sentences
  • The main purpose of chemical fixatives is to preserve the tissue, changing its fresh liquid sol state to a hardened preserved fixed state.
  • Because of this, a variety of fixatives are used to preserve and stabilize certain structures and inclusions to withstand the procedures just outlined.
  • Osmium tetroxide was used as a secondary fixative and stain prior to a second wash in phosphate buffer.
1.1A substance used to stabilize the volatile components of perfume.
Example sentences
  • Finally, while the fixatives provide the background, the base note lends the perfume its lasting impression.
  • Ambergris is used as a fixative in the manufacture of perfume.
  • This plant is one of the natural sources of Benzyl benzoate, an aromatic liquid used as a fixative and solvent in the manufacture of flavorings and perfume.
1.2A liquid sprayed onto a pastel or charcoal drawing to fix colors or prevent smudging.
Example sentences
  • But the real emphasis of this book is in developing an understanding of how the body moves and the many media and techniques for rendering the human form: chalks, charcoal, pastel, fixative, watercolors and oil paints.
  • The top bid was $7,500 for the painting whose intensity and tactile quality are achieved with layers of charcoal, then fixative, then more layers, then sand-paper.
  • Gelatine, an animal by-product rich in collagen, was frequently used by Middle Age painters as a fixative to bind pigments to canvas or wood.
2A substance used to keep things in position or stick them together: the swift glues these thin twigs to a wall using its own saliva as a fixative
More example sentences
  • Applying the fixatives before dyeing gives both fiber components of the fabric a positive charge.
  • The book dummies, storyboards, jacket covers, and double page spreads were proudly displayed, still smelling strongly of glue and fixatives.
  • The team will create a new fixative mixture that combines minerals and slow-release growth factors.


(Of a substance) used to fix or stabilize something.
Example sentences
  • They determined whether use of fixative fluid, organic solvent, or both might contribute to the low numbers.
  • The sandals are sewn by hand, made with low-impact, fiberreactive dyes and no fixative chemicals.
  • In the early 1970s, the use of the fixative paste was eliminated, which meant that tissue could be removed and processed immediately by frozen section.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fix·a·tive

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