\ 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 ruling Baath party claims to represent all of Syria’s religions and sects. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 Weston began conspicuously carrying the geiger counter around with her, won over most of the players to her sect of PS, and briefly, dramatically threatened to stay in the Parasite (essentially dying, in the fiction of the game). Eric Thurm, WIRED, "An Alternate Reality Game That Takes Freshmen Orientation to a New Level," 25 Mar. 2018 His state, meanwhile, is becoming more narrowly sectarian as Alawite (his sect), Shia and Christian minorities start to take over property abandoned by the fleeing Sunnis (see article). The Economist, "Syrian refugees could turn into the new Palestinians," 30 June 2018 The founder of the sect formerly known as Aum Shinrikyo had also been found guilty in an earlier attack that killed eight people in the city of Matsumoto, and had exhausted all appeals since his 2004 conviction for the crimes. Author: Stuart Biggs, Gearoid Reidy, Anchorage Daily News, "Japan executes cult leader and 6 others for deadly 1995 sarin attack," 6 July 2018 Sardesai was inspired to promote cosmic farming by his wife Usha, a devotee of the Shiv Yog sect, who had tested the chanting method on her orchids on her front porch. Vidhi Doshi, Washington Post, "Goa’s agriculture minister wants farmers to use ‘cosmic farming’ instead of fertilizer," 4 July 2018 Born into a poor family of tatami-mat makers, the legally blind Asahara drew thousands of followers into his sect, which prophesied an imminent Armageddon in which its followers would seize power and achieve salvation. Author: Stuart Biggs, Gearoid Reidy, Anchorage Daily News, "Japan executes cult leader and 6 others for deadly 1995 sarin attack," 6 July 2018 Instead, a sect of hockey die-hards, traditionalists and bitter fans of older expansion teams have whined. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Why are hockey fans bitter about the Golden Knights' run to Stanley Cup Final?," 24 May 2018 These numbers will likely bring a smile to the faces of a certain sect of purists who bemoan baseball’s emphasis on power and yearn for the return of the bunt and the hit and run. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "The Red Sox’s New Plan of Attack: Swing More," 7 May 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

7 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for sect

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

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More Definitions for sect



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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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).


to make amends

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