Definition of fetish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfediSH/


1An inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit.
Example sentences
  • Lesser priests and priestesses serve the shrines of fetishes, minor spirits, and focus on cures and magic charms.
  • When his mother sold him to white men, she told him to thank and worship the fetishes, objects believed to have magical powers by primitive people, because they will make him happy.
  • Do I feel the thing that relics, totems, and fetishes are supposed to make people feel?
1.1A course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment: he had a fetish for writing more opinions each year than any other justice
More example sentences
  • I love fighting big people and I always had a fetish for fighting big people.
  • He soon found out I had a fetish for chimneys and steeplejacks and his workshop were up a road with eight chimneys, like, and there were always someone mending one.
  • He was also an alcoholic drug abuser who had a fetish for firing guns at trespassers and blowing up high explosives for the fun of it.
1.2A form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc. Victorian men developed fetishes focusing on feet, shoes, and boots
More example sentences
  • At times, customers visited the clubs seeking gratification of certain fetishes such as the desire to interact with a dominant woman or to experience public humiliation or pain.
  • I couldn't care less about his consensual, adult sexual fetishes.
  • No, we're referring to that twilight world of bizarre fetishes and sexual practices.
fixation, obsession, compulsion, mania;
weakness, fancy, fascination, fad
informal thing, hang-up


Early 17th century (originally denoting an object used by the peoples of West Africa as an amulet or charm): from French fétiche, from Portuguese feitiço 'charm, sorcery' (originally an adjective meaning 'made by art'), from Latin factitius (see factitious).

  • Before its modern sense of ‘an obsession’ or ‘an unusual form of sexual desire’, a fetish was an object worshipped in West Africa for its supposed magical powers, or used as an amulet or charm. Early European visitors used the Portuguese word feitiço ‘charm, sorcery’ for it.

Words that rhyme with fetish

coquettish, pettish, wettish

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fet·ish

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