- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for fetish
Two of the “Fetish” sculptures by the artist known as B. Wurtz, from his solo show now at Metro Pictures in New York.B. Wurtz Turns Trash to Treasure
March 27, 2013
The Fetish is any stone picked up in the street—a tree, a chip, a rag.The Humbugs of the World
P. T. Barnum
I wandered about the streets looking for some Fetish willing to take an interest in me.The Surprises of Life
It is, however, far easier to state what Fetish is not, than to state what it is.
For the rest of the Fetish I remain a mere photographic plate.
The expert in Fetish, the Medicine Man, was the first priest.A Short History of the World
H. G. Wells
- something, esp an inanimate object, that is believed in certain cultures to be the embodiment or habitation of a spirit or magical powers
- a form of behaviour involving fetishism
- any object that is involved in fetishism
- any object, activity, etc, to which one is excessively or irrationally devotedto make a fetish of cleanliness
Word Origin and History for fetish
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.
- Something, such as an object or nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire and may become necessary for sexual gratification.
- An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment.