\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 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 In 2015, after giving a talk in Rabariyawas, 70 miles east of Jodhpur, Bharti was approached by 18-year-old Mamta Bishnoi, a member of a conservationist Hindu sect that observes strict customs involving females. Shashank Bengali,, "An Indian activist fights in court to help child brides and grooms win their lives back," 18 June 2018 In this April 30, 2018, photo, Jena Jones, Director of the Short Creek Dream Center, guides a tour through the renovated facility, formally the home of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs in Hildale, Utah. Washington Post, "‘Big House’ once owned by Warren Jeffs is now a sober home," 4 May 2018 In 2015, after giving a talk in Rabariyawas, 70 miles east of Jodhpur, Bharti was approached by 18-year-old Mamta Bishnoi, a member of a conservationist Hindu sect that observes strict customs involving females. Author: Shashank Bengali, Anchorage Daily News, "In India, ‘child marriage is like a disease’," 24 June 2018 The Houthis, as well as several other Yemeni factions, belong to a Shiite sect indigenous to their country and different from the one followed by most Iranians. Margaret Coker, New York Times, "Humanitarian Crisis Worsens in Yemen After Attack on Port," 13 June 2018 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

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

5 Oct 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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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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