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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A fetish denotes something which is believed to possess, contain, or cause spiritual or magical powers; an amulet or a talisman. This meaning was popularized in anthropology by Charles de Brosses's Le Culte des Dieux Fétiches (1760). Since the late 19th century, more specifically in the work of Alfred Binet (Le fétichisme dans l'amour, 1887), the term started to refer to something nonsexual, such as an object or a part of the body which arouses sexual desire or is necessary for one to reach full sexual satisfaction. In common parlance, it refers to an irrational, or abnormal, fixation or preoccupation.

It can also refer to

  • Fetishism, the attribution of religious or mystical qualities to inanimate objects, known as fetishes
  • Sexual fetishism, sexual fixation with objects, body parts, or situations not conventionally viewed as being sexual in nature
  • Commodity fetishism, a Marxist concept of valuation in capitalist markets
  • Fetish model
  • Fetish fashion, clothing fetishes


From French fétiche, from Portuguese feitiço, from Latin factīcius (“artificial”)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fetish" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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