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or fetich

[fet-ish, fee-tish] /ˈfɛt ɪʃ, ˈfi tɪʃ/
an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency.
any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion:
to make a fetish of high grades.
Psychology. any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.
Origin of fetish
1605-15; earlier fateish < Portuguese feitiço charm, sorcery (noun), artificial (adj.) < Latin factīcius factitious; replacing fatisso, fetisso < Portuguese, as above
Related forms
fetishlike, adjective
1. talisman, amulet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fetich
Historical Examples
  • As with the Hunter, so with the Warrior, the fetich is fed on the life-blood of the slain.

    Zui Fetiches Frank Hamilton Cushing
  • In this world the killer can command, as his fetich, the soul of the killed.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The fetich doctor and fetich belief were a vis a tergo with the native horde.

    Fetichism in West Africa Robert Hamill Nassau
  • Cherokee medicine is an empiric development of the fetich idea.

  • Mr. Spencer undertakes even to demonstrate a priori the falsity of the fetich theory.

  • I would hide it from human gaze and cherish it as a sort of fetich.

  • The soul of the fetich ‘in common with supernatural agents at large, is originally the double of a dead man.’

  • She had one fetich, the candles must be extinguished at ten o'clock.

    A Portrait of Old George Town Grace Dunlop Ecker
  • Once more he was the savage transported in the presence of his fetich.

    Prester John John Buchan
  • There is always danger that a particular classification may become a fetich.

    Society Henry Kalloch Rowe
British Dictionary definitions for fetich


/ˈfɛtɪʃ; ˈfiːtɪʃ/
something, esp an inanimate object, that is believed in certain cultures to be the embodiment or habitation of a spirit or magical powers
  1. a form of behaviour involving fetishism
  2. any object that is involved in fetishism
any object, activity, etc, to which one is excessively or irrationally devoted: to make a fetish of cleanliness
Derived Forms
fetish-like, fetich-like, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from French fétiche, from Portuguese feitiço (n) sorcery, from adj: artificial, from Latin factīcius made by art, factitious
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fetich



1610s, fatisso, from Portuguese feitiço "charm, sorcery," from Latin facticius "made by art," from facere "to make" (see factitious).

Latin facticius in Spanish has become hechizo "magic, witchcraft, sorcery." Probably introduced by Portuguese sailors and traders as a name for charms and talismans worshipped by the inhabitants of the Guinea coast of Africa. Popularized in anthropology by C. de Brosses' "Le Culte des Dieux Fétiches" (1760), which influenced the word's spelling in English (French fétiche, also from the Portuguese word). Figurative sense of "something irrationally revered" is American English, 1837.

Any material image of a religious idea is an idol; a material object in which force is supposed to be concentrated is a Fetish; a material object, or a class of material objects, plants, or animals, which is regarded by man with superstitious respect, and between whom and man there is supposed to exist an invisible but effective force, is a Totem. [J. Fitzgerald Lee, "The Greater Exodus," London, 1903]
For sexual sense, see fetishism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fetich in Medicine

fetish fet·ish (fět'ĭsh, fē'tĭsh)

  1. Something, such as an object or a nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire and may become necessary for sexual gratification.

  2. An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fetich in Culture

fetish definition

An object believed to carry a magical or spiritual force. Some so-called primitive tribes practice cult worship of fetishes. (See animism and totemism.)

Note: Figuratively, a “fetish” is any object that arouses excessive devotion: “Lucille made a fetish of her Porsche.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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