fetish

noun
fe·​tish | \ ˈfe-tish also ˈfē- How to pronounce fetish (audio) \
variants: or less commonly fetich

Definition of fetish

1a : an object (such as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner broadly : a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence
b : an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion : prepossession
c : an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression
2 : fixation
3 : a rite or cult of fetish worshippers

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A Brief History of Fetish

When fetish first appeared in English in the early 17th century, it referred to objects (often amulets) believed by certain West Africans to have supernatural powers. During the 19th century, the word took on a broader meaning: "an object of irrational devotion or reverence." The object need not be physical: a person may have a fetish for an idea, such as an unwarranted belief that a particular economic system will solve society’s ills. By the early 20th century, fetish took on yet another meaning quite distinct from its antecedents: a sexualized desire for an object (such as a shoe) or for a body part that is not directly related to the reproductive act (such as an earlobe).

Examples of fetish in a Sentence

He has a fetish for secrecy. He wore a fetish to ward off evil spirits.

Recent Examples on the Web

Her fetish for vinyl records ranged from early ragtime blues to rare and obscure rock en español. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Affairs: I was into her. But she was into playing games.," 31 Aug. 2019 On the surface, the idea that a cartoon pig is trending within gay fetish and kink culture is an astonishing and hilarious turn. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "How Peppa Pig became an LGBTQ icon," 29 July 2019 Belanger's objects resonate like fetishes, and her spaces like stage sets in the theater of the unconscious. Leah Ollman, latimes.com, "The hairbrush made of fingers and other scenes from the mind of Genesis Belanger," 8 June 2019 My mom was very influenced by African, and Indian, and Asian design, by artists who inspired her like Isamu Noguchi, and spirituality and fetishes. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Remembering Cara Croninger, Artwear Jewelry Maker and “Punk to the Core”," 5 Apr. 2019 From a super crushing a man’s skull as she orgasms to another super’s paraphilic infantilism fetish, Kripke uses extreme moments to build the story. Shana O'neil, The Verge, "The Boys is a bloody manic mayhem dream show," 24 July 2019 Even when those 17,000 things include a photoshoot for a foot fetish website or wondering aloud about the life stories of Vancouver pedestrians. Kelsea Stahler, refinery29.com, "This Is The Always Be My Maybe Behind-The-Scenes Story You Never Knew You Needed," 7 June 2019 The feminism of writers who are mothers is a fetish, but the motherhood of scholars is forbidden. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Lingering of Loss," 1 July 2019 After Visalia police nearly caught the Ransacker, the fetish burglar struck three more homes, then stopped. Tribune News Service, oregonlive.com, "The Man in the Window: First the burglaries; then the dogs started dying (Part Two)," 22 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fetish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fetish

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fetish

French & Portuguese; French fétiche, from Portuguese feitiço, from feitiço artificial, false, from Latin facticius factitious

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Dictionary Entries near fetish

fetid yew

fetii

fetiparous

fetish

fetishism

fetishize

fetlock

Statistics for fetish

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fetish

The first known use of fetish was in 1613

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More Definitions for fetish

fetish

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fetish

: a strong and unusual need or desire for something
: a need or desire for an object, body part, or activity for sexual excitement
: an object that is believed to have magical powers

fetish

noun
fe·​tish
variants: also fetich \ ˈfet-​ish also ˈfēt-​ \

Medical Definition of fetish

: an object or bodily part whose real or fantasized presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression

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More from Merriam-Webster on fetish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fetish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fetish

Spanish Central: Translation of fetish

Nglish: Translation of fetish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fetish

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