fetish

noun fe·tish \ ˈfe-tish also ˈfē- \
variants: or less commonly fetich
Updated on: 11 Dec 2017

Definition of fetish

1 a : 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

Examples of fetish in a Sentence

  1. He has a fetish for secrecy.

  2. He wore a fetish to ward off evil spirits.

Recent Examples of fetish from the Web

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.

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).

Origin and Etymology of fetish

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


FETISH Defined for English Language Learners

fetish

noun

Definition of fetish for English Language Learners

  • : 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


Medical Dictionary

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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