[fet-ish, fee-tish]
fetish, inanimate object believed to possess some magical power. The fetish may be a natural thing, such as a stone, a feather, a shell, or the claw of an animal, or it may be artificial, such as carvings in wood. The power of the fetish is thought to derive its efficacy from one of two sources. In some cases the object is said to have a will of its own; in others the source of power comes from the belief that a god dwells within the object and has transformed it into an instrument of his desires. Closely related to the idea of the power of a fetish is the notion of taboo. Here the power within the fetish is thought to be so strong that it is extremely dangerous and may be handled only by special individuals, if at all. Any object of irrational or superstitious devotion may be called a fetish.

In psychology, erotic attachment to an inanimate object or a nongenital body part whose real or fantasized presence is necessary for sexual gratification. The object is most commonly some other body part or an article of clothing. From the time of its identification by Sigmund Freud in 1927, fetishism was thought to occur almost exclusively among men, but in the late 20th century that notion was challenged by several new studies. Seealso fetish.

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Fetish may refer to:

  • Fetishism, the attribution of religious or mystical qualities to inanimate objects
  • Sexual fetishism, sexual attraction to materials and objects not conventionally viewed as being sexual in nature
  • Fetish (album) (1999), by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
  • Commodity fetishism, a Marxist concept of valuation in capitalist markets
  • Growth Fetish, the pursuit of economic growth in politics and economic theory as a universal cure for all society's problems
  • Fetish fashion, clothing and clothing fetishes
  • Zuni fetishes, small carvings from various stones, made by the Zuni Indians.

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