[sek-tair-ee-uh n]


of or relating to sectaries or sects.
narrowly confined or devoted to a particular sect.
narrowly confined or limited in interest, purpose, scope, etc.


a member of a sect.
a bigoted or narrow-minded adherent of a sect.

Origin of sectarian

First recorded in 1640–50; sectary + -an
Related formssec·tar·i·an·ly, adverbun·sec·tar·i·an, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sectarian

Contemporary Examples of sectarian

Historical Examples of sectarian

  • The minute you touch on religion, as commonly understood, you reach the sectarian.

  • But I have never consulted the popular any more than the sectarian, Prejudice.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • If free with the sectarian, it should be free with the elector.

  • Indeed, religious dissension and sectarian heat were in the very air.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Was the government of the two Caimacams to be sectarian or geographical?


    Benjamin Disraeli

British Dictionary definitions for sectarian



of, belonging or relating to, or characteristic of sects or sectaries
adhering to a particular sect, faction, or doctrine
narrow-minded, esp as a result of rigid adherence to a particular sect


a member of a sect or faction, esp one who is bigoted in his adherence to its doctrines or in his intolerance towards other sects, etc
Derived Formssectarianism, 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

Word Origin and History for sectarian

1640s, originally applied by Presbyterians to Independents, from Medieval Latin sectarius, from secta (see sect).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper