\ˈsekt \

Definition of sect 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a dissenting or schismatic religious body especially : one regarded as extreme or heretical

b : a religious denomination

2 archaic : sex sense 1 so is all her sect— William Shakespeare

3a : a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or to a leader

b : party

c : faction

Definition of sect (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms for sect

Synonyms: Noun

bloc, block, body, coalition, faction, party, set, side, wing

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Examples of sect in a Sentence


one sect of medical researchers holds the minority view that the disease is not caused by that virus

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The anti-blasphemy movement emerged from Pakistan’s mainstream sect of Barelvi Islam, which is known for its moderation but also a deep reverence for the prophet. Bill Spindle, WSJ, "‘You Must Vote for the Holy Prophet’: Anti-Blasphemy Party Flexes Muscle in Pakistan," 1 Aug. 2018 While jewelry designer can sometimes feel like the latest trendy job (what documentary filmmaker was 10 years ago, and what doula is now to a certain sect), Irene has been honing her craft for the past 20 years. Jenni Konner, ELLE Decor, "Jewelry Designer Irene Neuwirth Takes Us Inside Her Eclectic Los Angeles Home," 13 July 2018 Of the 11 candidates running, none is FLDS, assuring the sect no longer will hold a majority. David Montero,, "Once zealously controlled by a religious sect, a small town tries to rehab its image — with beer," 5 July 2018 But there are different sects and ways to practice which can range from casual to more disciplined ways to live your life. Emily Shippee, Teen Vogue, ""A Very Large Expanse Of Sea" Author Tahereh Mafi on Representation for Muslim-American Teens and the Need for More Diverse Love Stories," 2 Nov. 2018 Religious minorities, including Christians and members of the beleaguered Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, often bear the brunt of these attacks. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Pakistani Prior Restraint in Holland," 6 Sep. 2018 Those abducted are members of the minority Druze sect. Fox News, "Syrian forces press offensive despite IS threats to hostages," 31 July 2018 When police showed up at the crime scene, a suspect found hiding nearby wore the familiar white turban of the sect’s members. Jeff Truesdell,, "The Most Outrageous Cult You’ve Never Heard of: A Beheading and Circumcisions in the Nation of Yahweh," 22 June 2018 The man, Mohammad Salas, was accused of being the bus driver involved in the officers’ deaths during protests in February by Gonabadi Dervishes, a sect that the government has designated a challenge to mainstream Shi’ite theology. New York Times,, "Iran hangs bus driver convicted of running over three police officers," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sect.' 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 sect


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sect


Middle English secte, from Anglo-French & Late Latin & Latin; Anglo-French, group, faction, from Late Latin secta organized ecclesiastical body, from Latin, course of action, way of life, probably from sectari to pursue, frequentative of sequi to follow — more at sue

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Statistics for sect

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for sect

The first known use of sect was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of sect

: a religious group that is a smaller part of a larger group and whose members all share similar beliefs

: a religious or political group that is connected to a larger group but that has beliefs that differ greatly from those of the main group


\ˈsekt \

Kids Definition of sect

: a group within a religion which has a special set of teachings or a special way of doing things

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More from Merriam-Webster on sect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sect

Spanish Central: Translation of sect

Nglish: Translation of sect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sect for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sect

Comments on sect

What made you want to look up sect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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