cult

noun, often attributive
\ ˈkəlt How to pronounce cult (audio) \

Definition of cult

1 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious (see spurious sense 2) also : its body of adherents the voodoo cult a satanic cult
2a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (such as a film or book) criticizing how the media promotes the cult of celebrity especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
b : the object of such devotion
c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion the singer's cult of fans The film has a cult following.
3 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual also : its body of adherents the cult of Apollo
4 : formal religious veneration : worship
5 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator health cults

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Other Words from cult

cultic \ ˈkəl-​tik How to pronounce cult (audio) \ adjective
cultish \ ˈkəl-​tish How to pronounce cult (audio) \ adjective
cultishly \ ˈkəl-​tish-​lē How to pronounce cult (audio) \ adverb
cultishness \ ˈkəl-​tish-​nəs How to pronounce cult (audio) \ noun
cultism \ ˈkəl-​ˌti-​zəm How to pronounce cult (audio) \ noun
cultlike \ ˈkəlt-​ˌlīk How to pronounce cult (audio) \ adjective

The Overlap of Cults and Culture

Cult, which shares an origin with culture and cultivate, comes from the Latin cultus, a noun with meanings ranging from "tilling, cultivation" to "training or education" to "adoration." In English, cult has evolved a number of meanings following a fairly logical path. The earliest known uses of the word, recorded in the 17th century, broadly denoted "worship." From here cult came to refer to a specific branch of a religion or the rites and practices of that branch, as in "the cult of Dionysus." By the early 18th century, cult could refer to a non-religious admiration or devotion, such as to a person, idea, or fad ("the cult of success"). Finally, by the 19th century, the word came to be used of "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious."

Examples of cult in a Sentence

She has developed a cult following. long after it had gone off the air, the TV series continued to have a huge cult
Recent Examples on the Web Now, Njoroge serves as the Head of Education at the cult-favorite skincare brand, Topicals. Akili King, Vogue, 4 June 2021 This cult-favorite Japanese mask peels all the dead skin off your feet—with deeply satisfying results. Kari Molvar, Forbes, 3 June 2021 In step with the best Memorial Day weekend sales, Rihanna's cult-favorite beauty brand is hosting one very big deal. Karina Hoshikawa, refinery29.com, 27 May 2021 This cult-favorite cooking pan can be used to braise, sear, steam, strain, sauté, fry, boil. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 May 2021 The latest in this brand’s cult-favorite repair line is an intensely nourishing weekly mask ($28) that hydrates hair damaged by hot tools, chemicals, and styling. Tatjana Freund, Marie Claire, 20 May 2021 This month, Roger Deakin’s cult-favorite book about swimming the waters of Britain will be published in the U.S. for the first time. Bonnie Tsui, Outside Online, 18 May 2021 This cult-favorite series followed the ins and outs of daily life for the lifeguards at Malibu Beach. Shayna Murphy, USA TODAY, 17 May 2021 Then, of course, there were all the clear references to the cult-favorite campy horror film Jennifer's Body, starring Megan Fox. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 15 May 2021

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

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First Known Use of cult

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for cult

French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate — more at wheel

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Learn More About cult

Statistics for cult

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cult. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for cult

cult

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cult

: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
: a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
: a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

cult

abbreviation

Medical Definition of cult

More from Merriam-Webster on cult

Nglish: Translation of cult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cult for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cult

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