"Fixate" <vs> "obsess"

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Senior Member
Hello. I think that these two verbs, "fixate" and "obsess", are very similar, right? I think that the only difference is that "fixate" is more formal. You would tend to see this word used in the field of psychiatry or psychology when one is talking about a patient who is obsessing about some stuff. "Obsess" is the more colloquial word. Otherwise there is not much difference between them. Is this correct?

Context 1. Jennifer likes to obsess about the size of her nose. She keeps thinking that her nose is "too big for her face". She is very bothered by it.

Context 2. Nicole Kidman is a very beautiful and accomplished actress, however, the downside is that some of her fans have become stalkers of her. These stalkers are completely fixated on her.

  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    No. I would say that the difference between them is that “fixate” is slightly stronger. It implies that the person is unable to turn their attention to anything else. But they are basically similar, and I don’t see any difference in register between them.
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