fetish

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Related to fetishists: Fetichistic, Fetischism

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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000

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.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
For example--each traditionally inscribed as male subjects in their respective literatures--the man of sensibility may become transported by the sight of a teardrop that reinforces his own inner sensitivity, while the fetishist becomes titillated by a foot, hand, or braid of hair that, for some reason, recalls an imaginary penis that corroborates his sense of empowerment.
Cronenberg's crew of crash fetishists are so bereft of affect as to he deceased anyway.
James Spader and Deborah Unger fall in with some fetishists who get turned on by car crashes.
The purchase of human breast milk has become more common nowadays with not only parents buying it for their babies, but also by cancer patients, fetishists and body builders.
And they are to appeal to members of Ireland's S&M fetishists after information suggested she had contects with an online adult community.
COLUMNISTS Food fetishists leave a bad taste in the mouth of Tryst Williams
Taking in Earl Grey, foot fetishists and the restorative power of cereal, this fantastical premise initially stumbled along.
Job seekers can earn pounds 100-a-day for wearing leather and stomping on S&M fetishists. The ad also mentions that previous experience is not necessary as training is given.
Job-seekers are offered pounds 100 a day for 'wearing leather and stomping on S&M fetishists who enjoy being trodden on'.
The wonderfully named Waldo Ponce netted in Chile's 3-2 win against Paraguay and the fetishists' dream that is Andrei Arshavin grabbed one in the 2-0 win over Macedonia.
Free drinks and canapes and gigglish girly chit chat were the order of the evening and, as a treat for fetishists everywhere, Trading Gossip can reveal that at one point people were having their earlobes massaged.