cult·​ist ˈkəl-tist How to pronounce cultist (audio)
plural cultists
: a member of a cult: such as
: a devotee or member of a religious cult
In 1826 … Shakers were persecuted as cultists distinguished by their use of dance in worship, their celibacy and their belief in their founder, Mother Ann, as equal to Jesus.Robert Minkoff
: one who exhibits great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, etc.
… at a time when the Kinks don't even have an American record deal, it's heartening for aging Kinks cultists that Ray Davies has found a domestic publisher for X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography, a book that was published in England last year.David Wild
Although Pierce has seen reruns of the actress's films, he insists he is not a [Marilyn] Monroe cultist.David Wallace
If the paranoid cultists and survivalists are right, and the apocalypse is right around the corner, who do we want leading the nation through the pestilence, famine and plagues of locusts?Sparkle Hayter

Examples of cultist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But whether or not blood is the ultimate catalyst here also remains unclear; the cultists soon begin heaving and breathing out loud as if to summon something from the deep. Siddhant Adlakha, Variety, 20 Mar. 2024 Skepticism endured: at a 2007 conference on A.I., some computer scientists made a spoof video suggesting that the deep-learning crowd was made up of cultists akin to Scientologists. Charles Duhigg, The New Yorker, 1 Dec. 2023 The story of a young woman who goes in search of her father only to discover his small town has been overrun by cultists, the film features a particularly unsettling scene set in a Ralphs, which may be all too familiar to some Angelenos. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2023 But Pelosi, who grew up listening to opera waft through the streets of Baltimore’s Little Italy, is a genuine tie-dyed in the wool Deadhead, as cultists and aficionados of the group are known. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 27 Aug. 2023 Notably in Missouri some of their conflicts with the earlier white population was explicitly sectional, as the locals were by origin Southerners who disliked the Mormons as Yankee cultists. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 5 Nov. 2010 But Pelosi, who grew up listening to opera wafting through the streets of Baltimore’s Little Italy, is a genuine tie-dyed in the wool Deadhead, as cultists and aficionados of the group are known. Laurel Rosenhall, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 The melancholy whistles of birds accompany the soundtrack in forests, and dungeons are filled with the creaking of old boards and the screams of cultists. Brittany Vincent, Rolling Stone, 31 May 2023 Now Operation Choke Point 2.0—which, to be clear, exists only in the minds of crypto cultists—is aiming to do something similar, cutting off banking access to crypto companies and drowning them in taxes and regulations. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 12 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cultist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1898, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cultist was in 1898

Dictionary Entries Near cultist

Cite this Entry

“Cultist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

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