cargo cult


Definition of cargo cult

: any of various Melanesian religious groups characterized by the belief that material wealth (such as money or manufactured goods) can be obtained through ritual worship

Examples of cargo cult in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The attempts to re-use the anti-Soviet playbook have the flavor of a cargo cult. Steve Larkin, The Week, 22 Mar. 2022 So far, Neom is less a city than an urbanist cargo cult. Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, 3 Mar. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cargo cult.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of cargo cult

1949, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About cargo cult

Time Traveler for cargo cult

Time Traveler

The first known use of cargo cult was in 1949

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near cargo cult


cargo cult

cargo liner

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cargo cult

Last Updated

31 Mar 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cargo cult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on cargo cult Encyclopedia article about cargo cult


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!