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Alternative forms[edit]

  • fetich (dated [18th c.–present])


Borrowed from French fétiche, from Portuguese feitiço, from Latin factīcius (artificial). Doublet of factitious.


  • (UK, US) enPR: fĕtʹĭsh, fēʹtĭsh, IPA(key): /ˈfɛt.ɪʃ/, /ˈfiː.tɪʃ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛtɪʃ, -iːtɪʃ


fetish (plural fetishes)

  1. Something which is believed to possess, contain, or cause spiritual or magical powers; an amulet or a talisman. [from the early 17th c.]
    • 1958, Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King:
      The idols and fetishes were being dressed up and whitewashed, receiving sacrifices.
  2. Sexual attraction to or arousal at something abnormally sexual or nonsexual, such as an object or a nonsexual part of the body. [from the early 19th c.]
    Synonym: paraphilia
    I know a guy who has a foot fetish.
    a fetish for leather
    • 1985, Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, →ISBN, page 163:
      The first time, I was confused. His needs were obscure to me, and what I could perceive of them seemed to me ridiculous, laughable, like a fetish for lace-up shoes.
  3. An irrational, or abnormal fixation or preoccupation; an obsession. [from the 19th c.]
    a fetish for deficit reduction

Derived terms[edit]