the practices and devotions of a cult.

1830–40; cult + -ism

cultist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cult (kʌlt)
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.  a.  something regarded as fashionable or significant by a particular group
 b.  (as modifier): a cult show
8.  (modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of a cult or cults: a cult figure
[C17: from Latin cultus cultivation, refinement, from colere to till]

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