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cult

[kuhlt] /kʌlt/
noun
1.
a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2.
an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers:
the physical fitness cult.
3.
the object of such devotion.
4.
a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5.
Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
6.
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.
7.
the members of such a religion or sect.
8.
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.
adjective
9.
of or pertaining to a cult.
10.
of, for, or attracting a small group of devotees:
a cult movie.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20; < Latin cultus habitation, tilling, refinement, worship, equivalent to cul-, variant stem of colere to inhabit, till, worship + -tus suffix of v. action
Related forms
cultic, cultual
[kuhl-choo-uh l] /ˈkʌl tʃu əl/ (Show IPA),
adjective
cultish, adjective
anticult, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cult
  • The other members of the group have become cult celebrities, too.
  • If the cult of this sound continues long enough, it may in time come to be a natural and established sound in the language.
  • The cult of the chief executive has reached absurd proportions.
  • But more than two years on, much has changed, notably the personality cult surrounding the former president.
  • Around the world, freemasonry has been seen as a subversive cult, and has aroused the suspicion of rulers.
  • In tandem with romantic marriage, the cult of childhood also flourished.
  • Early on the band released a series of self-produced recordings that helped them build a cult following.
  • Straightedge is not a cult, it's not a current trend, its not anything negative.
  • Ever since, modern art has resembled a doomsday cult on the day after the deadline for the end of the world.
  • He was then still something of a cult taste in this country, and only a few of his major works had been recorded.
British Dictionary definitions for cult

cult

/kʌlt/
noun
1.
a specific system of religious worship, esp with reference to its rites and deity
2.
a sect devoted to such a system
3.
a quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents
4.
(sociol) a group having an exclusive ideology and ritual practices centred on sacred symbols, esp one characterized by lack of organizational structure
5.
intense interest in and devotion to a person, idea, or activity: the cult of yoga
6.
the person, idea, etc, arousing such devotion
7.
  1. something regarded as fashionable or significant by a particular group
  2. (as modifier): a cult show
8.
(modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of a cult or cults: a cult figure
Derived Forms
cultism, noun
cultist, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin cultus cultivation, refinement, from colere to till
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
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Word Origin and History for cult
n.

1610s, "worship," also "a particular form of worship," from French culte (17c.), from Latin cultus "care, labor; cultivation, culture; worship, reverence," originally "tended, cultivated," past participle of colere "to till" (see colony). Rare after 17c.; revived mid-19c. with reference to ancient or primitive rituals. Meaning "devotion to a person or thing" is from 1829.

Cult. An organized group of people, religious or not, with whom you disagree. [Rawson]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cult in Culture

cult definition


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, fetish, and totemism.)

Note: The term cult often suggests extreme beliefs and bizarre behavior.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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