fetish

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fetish

(fĕt`ĭsh), 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 tabootaboo
or tabu
, prohibition of an act or the use of an object or word under pain of punishment. Originally a Polynesian word, taboo can apply to the sacred or consecrated or to the dangerous, unclean, and forbidden.
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. 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.

fetish

  1. (in religious belief or magic) any object in which a spirit is seen as embodied; the worship of such an object being fetishism (see also ANIMISM).
  2. (more generally, especially in psychology PSYCHOANALYSIS) any object of obsessive devotion or interest, especially objects or parts of the body other than those usually regarded as erogenous, e.g. articles of clothing, feet. see also COMMODITY FETISHISM.

Fetish

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

From the Portuguese feitiço, "a thing made." The term was originally applied by the Portuguese in the latter half of the fifteenth century to talismans, charms, and figures produced in West Africa and believed to house spirits. Fetish should properly be applied only to magical items such as charms and talismans, and not to carved representations of deities.

The words fetish and fetishism are today little used in modern anthropology, although they may be found in psychiatry, with fetishism seen as a mental condition wherein a nongenital object is used to achieve sexual gratification.

Many of the West African fetishes incorporate a mirror as a token of the "white man's magic." Fetishes are thought to retain the protective powers of the spirit world. They were brought to America by slaves and today are often found in the Ozark region. There they are known as "conjures," "goofers," and other local names, and they are dispensed by root doctors, goomer doctors, and conjure folk.

fetish

, fetich
Anthropology something, esp an inanimate object, that is believed in certain cultures to be the embodiment or habitation of a spirit or magical powers
References in periodicals archive ?
For Louise Kaplan, the fetishist makes a perverse enterprise out of his attention to sartorial or corporeal detail: "Fetishism exemplifies the perverse strategy.
The set design took advantage of the whole amphitheatre space, amalgamating the Womad festival's flag displays and the work of landscape-wrapping fetishist Christo, with trees, speakers and grassy knolls all shrouded in cloth.
A SHOE fetishist who attacked a teenager for her high heels was yesterday ordered to wear a new accessory - an electronic ankle tag.
He taught her the body by fetishist quiz, father and daughter on the bottom stair: 'Dy benelin yw elbow, dy wallt di yw hair, chin yw dy en di, head yw dy ben.
Hey Billie, when, whip in hand, you were sitting on a saddle astride a fat farm animal fetishist in your stockings and suspenders didn't any alarm bells ring?
Unfortunately Felix is a cleanliness fetishist and a proud cook and it's not long before they fall out.
McCormick, a vinyl fetishist himself, also knew that many rare records have uninspired covers.
The hospital authorities claim the man is not a transvestite but a fetishist who derives sexual pleasure from female clothing.
Police who raided the home of a sado-masochistic fetishist were astonished to find 10,000 pairs of socks littering his flat, Liverpool Crown Court heard yesterday.
But I found out she had posed with a whip for a fetishist website.
A shoe fetishist, her house is full of Jimmy Choo shoes and Manolo Blahnick.
THE fetishist Frankie Goes to Hollywood were born in 1982 fronted by former Big in Japan singer Holly Johnson.