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When fetish first appeared in English in the early 17th century, it referred to objects often amulets believed by certain West Africans to have supernatural powers. During the 19th century, the word took on a broader meaning: "an object of irrational devotion or reverence. By the early 20th century, fetish took on yet another meaning quite distinct from its antecedents: a sexualized desire for an object such as a shoe or for a body part that is not directly related to the reproductive act such as an earlobe. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fetish. Send us feedback.