[ sekt ]
See synonyms for sect on
  1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.

  2. a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.

  1. (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches.

  2. any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.

Origin of sect

1300–50; Middle English secte<Latin secta something to follow, pathway, course of conduct, school of thought, probably noun derivative of sectārī to pursue, accompany, wait upon, frequentative of sequī to follow

Other words from sect

  • subsect, noun
  • un·der·sect, noun

Words that may be confused with sect

Other definitions for -sect (2 of 3)


  1. a combining form with the meaning “cut,” used in the formation of compound words bisect, dissect, exsect.

Origin of -sect

From Latin sectus, past participle of secāre “to cut”

Other definitions for sect. (3 of 3)


  1. section. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sect in a sentence

  • Some men refuse their daughters to irreligious men, or to men who are not of their own sect or subsect.

    Folkways | William Graham Sumner

British Dictionary definitions for sect (1 of 2)


/ (sɛkt) /

  1. a subdivision of a larger religious group (esp the Christian Church as a whole) the members of which have to some extent diverged from the rest by developing deviating beliefs, practices, etc

  2. often derogatory

    • a schismatic religious body characterized by an attitude of exclusivity in contrast to the more inclusive religious groups called denominations or Churches

    • a religious group regarded as extreme or heretical

  1. a group of people with a common interest, doctrine, etc; faction

Origin of sect

C14: from Latin secta faction, following, from the stem of sequī to follow

British Dictionary definitions for -sect (2 of 2)


combining form
  1. to cut or divide, esp into a specified number of parts: trisect

Origin of -sect

from Latin sectus cut, from secāre to cut; see saw 1

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 sect


A religious group, especially one that has separated from a larger group. Sect is often a term of disapproval.

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.