fe·​tish·​ism | \ˈfe-ti-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfē- \
variants: or less commonly fetichism

Definition of fetishism 

1 : belief in magical fetishes

2 : extravagant irrational devotion

3 : the pathological displacement of erotic interest and satisfaction to a fetish

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Other Words from fetishism

fetishist \ˈfe-​ti-​shist also ˈfē-​ \ noun
fetishistic \ˌfe-​ti-​ˈshi-​stik also ˌfē-​ \ adjective
fetishistically \ˌfe-​ti-​ˈshi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē also ˌfē-​ \ adverb

Examples of fetishism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In mining the past, Soft Science sees new possibilities rather than a chance to indulge in retro fetishism. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Soft Science builds dreams amid chaos on 'Maps'," 8 June 2018 This damaging form of objectification degrades an individual to a single identifier, drowning individualism and perpetuating fetishism. Kelsey Castañon, refinery29.com, "I'm Latinx — & I'm Fed Up With Being Called "Exotic"," 24 May 2018 While the fetishism for the pop music of a more innocent time can be cloying, Clarke’s emotional gloom has a way of leavening that sweetness with some real acid. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Chicago native Max Clarke uncoils the darkness in his cheerful melodies on the debut full-length by Cut Worms," 17 May 2018 Not everyone is down with designer fetishism for the under-10 set, of course. Bobby Doherty, The Cut, "The consequences of dressing a child in designer apparel.," 2 May 2018 The Spike’s poster threw all of the paramilitary fetishism at SHOT into troubling relief. Elliott Woods, The New Republic, "Essential reporting, interpretation, and opinion on politics and culture. Don't miss our latest.," 16 Apr. 2018 As an industry, K-pop regularly faces issues regarding its characterization, and fetishism, of women. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "Female K-Pop Stars Face Criticism for Seemingly Feminist Behavior," 26 Mar. 2018 Today, online, pornography is so extreme and so varied, with such expressions of fetishism and other things that boys are seeing. Laura Mcgann, Vox, "Dowd should have forfeited her right to talk about sexual harassment years ago.," 25 Mar. 2018 The trend manages to cram a tremendous number of tedious affectations into tight quarters: design fetishism, ostentatious minimalism, costly self-abnegation. Willy Staley, New York Times, "When ‘Gentrification’ Isn’t About Housing," 23 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fetishism.' 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 fetishism

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fetishism

The first known use of fetishism was in 1801

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More Definitions for fetishism


variants: also fetichism \-​ish-​ˌiz-​əm \

Medical Definition of fetishism 

: the pathological displacement of erotic interest and satisfaction to a fetish

Other Words from fetishism

fetishistic also fetichistic \ˌfet-​ish-​ˈis-​tik also ˌfēt-​ \ adjective
fetishistically \-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on fetishism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fetishism

Comments on fetishism

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to make faulty or ineffective

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