a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
the object of such devotion.
a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
the members of such a religion or sect.
any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
of or relating to a cult.
of, for, or attracting a small group of devotees: a cult movie.
- cultic, cul·tu·al [kuhl-choo-uhl], /ˈkʌl tʃu əl/, adjective
- cultish, adjective
- an·ti·cult, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use cult in a sentence
“Like in most cults, you were cut off from your [outside] family,” she told People.Michelle Pfeiffer and More Stars Who Escaped From ‘Cults’ | Alec Kubas-Meyer | November 7, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Long wary of cults, the Communist regime has deemed some doomsday believers a threat to society.
He also went on CNN urging viewers not to get caught up in cults.Claire Vaye Watkins on Growing up Manson and “Battleborn” | Claiborne Smith | August 4, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Dawson has done extensive research on new religious movements and is the editor of Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader.Why Do People Believe in Scientology and Other Fringe Religions? | Jesse Singal | July 7, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Traditionally, Orpheus was first a priest of Dionysus and then a priest of Apollo; he linked the cults within himself.Ann Wroe’s ‘Orpheus’: Why the Mythological Muse Haunts Us | Ann Wroe | May 31, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
It was primarily a seat of that fountain worship which is one of the earliest of all known cults.The Cradle of Mankind | W.A. Wigram
The quest for hidden knowledge may end with initiation into divine truths or into dark and abominable cults.Secret Societies And Subversive Movements | Nesta H. Webster
Yet Weishaupt's own theories appear to bear no relation whatever to these ancient cults.Secret Societies And Subversive Movements | Nesta H. Webster
The fact has often been pointed out that the prominent leaders in the evil cults of the last days are women.The Prophet Ezekiel | Arno C. Gaebelein
It swept out many indecent features of the older cults, many superstitions and abuses.The New Stone Age in Northern Europe | John M. Tyler
British Dictionary definitions for cult
a specific system of religious worship, esp with reference to its rites and deity
a sect devoted to such a system
a quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents
sociol a group having an exclusive ideology and ritual practices centred on sacred symbols, esp one characterized by lack of organizational structure
intense interest in and devotion to a person, idea, or activity: the cult of yoga
the person, idea, etc, arousing such devotion
something regarded as fashionable or significant by a particular group
(as modifier): a cult show
(modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of a cult or cults: a cult figure
- cultism, noun
- cultist, noun
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
Cultural definitions for cult
In anthropology, an organization for the conduct of ritual, magical, or other religious observances. Many so-called primitive tribes, for example, have ancestor cults, in which dead ancestors are considered divine and activities are organized to respect their memory and invoke their aid. A cult is also a religious group held together by a dominant, often charismatic individual, or by the worship of a divinity, an idol, or some other object. (See animism (see also animism), fetish, and totemism.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.