\ ˈsekt How to pronounce sect (audio) \

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

Discontent in Sweida, home mostly to the country’s minority Druze religious sect, has been building since an unusually bloody series of Islamic State attacks in July. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, "Islamic State Warns of Hostage Executions to Slow Assad Offensive," 4 Oct. 2018 The rest of the sect joined the celebration in the following year and the service became an annual tradition. Morin Bishop, Woman's Day, "What’s an Easter Sunrise Service? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 22 Mar. 2019 The 12 Tribes sect helped spread Rastafari’s Afrocentric tenets into the wider populace (Bob Marley was a 12 Tribe member). Patricia Meschino, Billboard, "As Reggae Celebrates 50 Years, Some of the Genre's Pioneers Look Back on Its Worldwide Ascent," 1 July 2018 In 2016, Russia amended its antiterrorism laws tightening restrictions on religious groups, particularly smaller sects, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, "Russia Seizes Property From Jehovah’s Witnesses After Banning Group," 6 Mar. 2019 Shafran, who has met with former Hasidim, urges those who are disillusioned to consider other sects, noting that some may find one that is more suitable. Elizabeth Llorente | Fox News, Fox News, "Hasidic 'defectors' find challenges, isolation in pursuing a new life," 13 June 2018 The long struggle between the Assads and the extremists who denounce the Assads’ Alawite sect as heretical and who claim to represent the majority Sunni population of Syria is described briefly but with balance and restraint. Christopher Dickey, New York Times, "War Without End," 6 Apr. 2018 The show makes much of the conflict between Noesner and the FBI cohort that wants to crush the sect with military might. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "Waco Is the Perfect Show for the Trump Era—in a Bad Way," 5 Feb. 2018 Also on Friday, his action thriller Mandy premieres at Sundance Film Festival, featuring Cage as a man hunting the religious sect that murdered the love of his life. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "The 10 craziest Nicolas Cage movie performances, ranked," 18 Jan. 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

18 May 2019

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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 How to pronounce sect (audio) \

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).


highly pertinent or appropriate

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