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Object believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner, and by extension, an object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence. In the 18th century it was applied to West African amulets; it has also been used for various items in American Indian religion. In psychology, a fetish is an object that substitutes for a person as the focus of sexual desire. See alsofetishism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on fetish, visit Britannica.com.