\ 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

Definition of sect (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms for sect

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of sect in a Sentence

Noun one sect of medical researchers holds the minority view that the disease is not caused by that virus
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Members of the sect stole salmonella from a lab in Seattle, mixed it into a brown liquid and discreetly dropped small quantities on items like salsa and salad dressing. Ana Santos Rutschman, The Conversation, "Salad bars and water systems are easy targets for bioterrorists – and America’s monitoring system is woefully inadequate," 7 Nov. 2019 The sect has a tumultuous and sometimes violent past. al, "9 US citizens, including 6 children, killed in Mexican drug cartel attack," 5 Nov. 2019 Refuse Fascism has a chapter in the Bay Area, but police never provided evidence that the Los Angeles sect had anything to do with violence in San Francisco or Berkeley. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "LAPD to change policy on use of informants after furor over decision to spy on anti-Trump group," 13 Sep. 2019 But in the United States, religious freedom expressed itself in dozens of sects—each of which wanted its own college, with its own moral imprint on its members. Carla Yanni, Smithsonian, "How College Dorms Evolved to Fit America’s Gender and Racial Politics," 6 Sep. 2019 For one thing, her father, Lemuel (a mesmerizing Walton Goggins), is the sect’s fiery preacher, a darkly uncompromising presence always on the lookout for the devil’s handiwork. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Them That Follow’ is a compelling tale of taboo love in a Pentecostal world," 8 Aug. 2019 For one thing, her father, Lemuel (a mesmerizing Walton Goggins), is the sect’s fiery preacher, a darkly uncompromising presence always on the lookout for the devil’s handiwork. Kenneth Turan, Twin Cities, "Pentecostal faith, illicit romance are behind closed doors in ‘Them That Follow’," 8 Aug. 2019 Though the experiment failed, Rubin became drawn to the area’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish population and left to learn about — and later join — the deeply rigid sect. Gary Goldstein,, "Review: ‘Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground’ profiles provocateur," 13 June 2019 The mother had been a member of Lev Tahor— her father founded the sect in 1994 — but fled the group last year after its leadership became increasingly extreme, according to the FBI. Jim Mustian, The Seattle Times, "5th member of Jewish sect charged in new kidnapping plot," 29 Mar. 2019

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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Time Traveler for sect

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

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sect.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for sect


How to pronounce sect (audio)

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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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