Earlier sense was of "doctrine that animal life is produced by an immaterial soul" (1832), from German Animismus, coined c. 1720 by physicist/chemist Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734) based on the concept of the anima mundi. Animist is attested from 1819, in Stahl's sense. Related: Animisic.
1801, "worship of fetishes," from fetish + -ism. Expanded in use by Comte taking it to denote a general type of primitive religion (animism). In the purely psycho-sexual sense, first recorded 1897 in writings of Henry Havelock Ellis (1859-1939).
In certain perversions of the sexual instinct, the person, part of the body, or particular object belonging to the person by whom the impulse is excited, is called the fetish of the patient. [E. Morselli in "Baldwin Dictionary of Philosophy," 1901]
Related: Fetishist (1845; psycho-sexual sense from 1897); fetishistic.