cargo cult

noun (sometimes initial capital letters)

any of various native religious cults of a millenarian and messianic character located in the southwestern Pacific islands, holding that spirits will bring large cargoes of modern goods for distribution among its adherents.

Nearby words

  1. carfax,
  2. carfuffle,
  3. carful,
  4. cargo,
  5. cargo bay,
  6. cargo liner,
  7. cargo pants,
  8. cargo pocket,
  9. carhop,
  10. caria

Origin of cargo cult

First recorded in 1945–50

Related formscargo cultist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cargo cult

cargo cult


a religious movement of the SW Pacific, characterized by expectation of the return of spirits in ships or aircraft carrying goods that will provide for the needs of the followers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012