fetish


fetish
fetish, talisman, charm, amulet are comparable when they designate an object believed to be endowed with the virtue of averting evil or of bringing good fortune.
Fetish is applied to an object, either natural (as a snake or an animal's tooth or claw) or artificial (as a piece of carved wood or bone), which is held sacred in the belief that a supernatural spirit has entered into it and invested it with the power to bring success, luck, and freedom from evil to its owner or worshiper. In its basic sense the word is always connected with the religion of primitive or barbarous peoples
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the Ashanti fertility fetish, carried on the backs of pregnant women to help make their children beautiful— Time

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In extended use it may be applied to whatever is unreasonably or irrationally regarded as sacred or sacrosanct
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make a fetish of the Constitution

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the mediocre was repellent to them; cant and sentiment made them sick; they made a fetish of hard truth— Rose Macaulay

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Talisman, unlike fetish, presupposes a degree of enlightenment, a knowledge of astrology and other occult sciences, and a belief in magical powers. Primarily it is applied to a cut, incised, or engraved figure or image of a heavenly constellation or planet or to its sign, or to a gem or a piece of metal so cut, incised, or engraved. By virtue of this representation it is supposed to be endowed with the same occult influence as what it represents
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he had stolen from Henry ... a talisman, which rendered its wearer invulnerable— Stubbs

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In extended use it may be applied to an object felt to exert a magical, extraordinary, and usually happy influence
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the little circle of the schoolboy's copper coin . . . had proven a talisman, fragrant with good, and deserving to be set in gold and worn next her heart— Hawthorne

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the mere touch of a leaf was a talisman to bring me under the enchantment— Jefferies

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there is no talisman in the word parent which can generate miracles of affection— Butler d. 1902

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if their hearts had been opened, there would have been found, engraved within, the talisman Education— Brooks

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Charm basically applies to something believed to work a spell repelling evil spirits or malign influences or attracting favorable ones. It may be used in reference to an incantation, a word, or a form of words as well as to an object; thus, fetishes and talismans were often carried as charms
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the gallant little Abruzzi cob was decorated with ... a panoply of charms against the evil eyeMackenzie

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In its extended application to a quality in persons or in things it connotes a power to attract or allure that is suggestive of spell working
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she has Tgreat charm

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did you feel the charm of the painting?

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one of the great charms of Lawrence . . . was that he could never be bored— Huxley

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Amulet is usually applied to something worn or carried on the person because of its supposed magical power to preserve one in danger or to protect one from evil and especially from disease
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the French traveler Coudreau . . . expressly states that collars made of jaguars' or bush hogs' teeth, worn round the neck by small children, are amulets intended to protect them, when they grow bigger, against the attack of ferocious beasts— Karsten

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In its rare extended use the word still implies protection
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righteousness will give you love . . . but it will not give you an invincible amulet against misfortune— Farrar

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   Wikipedia

  • Fetish — kann verschiedene Bedeutungen haben die südafrikanische Band, siehe Fetish (Band) der Musiker DJ Fetish engl. Schreibweise für Sexueller Fetischismus Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • fetish — 1. Fetish, meaning ‘a thing evoking special respect’ (and more precise meanings in anthropology and psychology), is now pronounced fet ish. The word is a 17c adoption of French fétiche, and was originally an African object or amulet having… …   Modern English usage

  • fetish — 1610s, fatisso, from Port. feitiço charm, sorcery, from L. facticius made by art, from facere to make (see FACTITIOUS (Cf. factitious)). L. facticius in Spanish has become hechizo magic, witchcraft, sorcery. Probably introduced by Portuguese… …   Etymology dictionary

  • fetish — [n1] obsession bias, craze*, desire, fixation, golden calf*, idée fixe, leaning, luck, mania, partiality, penchant, periapt, predilection, prejudice, preoccupation, prepossession, proclivity, propensity, stimulant, thing*; concepts 529,689 fetish …   New thesaurus

  • fetish — [fet′ish; ] also [ fēt′ish] n. [Fr fétiche < Port feitiço, a charm, sorcery; orig. adj. < L facticius, made by art, FACTITIOUS] 1. any object believed by some person or group to have magic power 2. any thing or activity to which one is… …   English World dictionary

  • Fetish — Fe tish, n., Fetishism Fe tish*ism (? or ?; 277), n., Fetishistic Fe tish*is tic, a. See {Fetich}, n., {Fetichism}, n., {Fetichistic}, a. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fetish — index compulsion (obsession), obsession Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • fetish — /ingl. ˈfɛtɪʃ/ [vc. ingl. di orig. port., propr. «feticcio»] A s. m. inv. (psicol.) feticismo B agg. inv. (psicol.) feticista, feticistico …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • fetish — ► NOUN 1) an inanimate object worshipped for its supposed magical powers. 2) a form of sexual desire in which gratification is focused abnormally on an object, part of the body, or activity. 3) a course of action to which one has an excessive and …   English terms dictionary


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