\ 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

He was beaten up and shunned by fellow members of his ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect. Linda Stasi, Harper's magazine, "Secrets and Lies," 16 Sep. 2019 The state of Utah took over the trust in 2005 and the court oversaw it for more than a decade before a judge recently handed it over to a board of community members who are mostly former sect members. CBS News, "Imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs had mental breakdown, lawyer says," 14 Aug. 2019 Them That Follow The daughter of a Pentecostal pastor in Appalachia challenges the traditions of her sect. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. movie openings, July 28-Aug. 4: ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ and more," 28 July 2019 On July 19, Nigeria's presidency in a statement warned members of the sect to stop violent demonstrations in the capital and wait for a court's decision on Zakzaky's fate. Bukola Adebayo, CNN, "Protests turn deadly as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria clash with police," 22 July 2019 His multinational religious sect attracted young Japanese elite who had grown disenchanted with the country’s material prosperity. Austin Ramzy, New York Times, "Japan Executes Cult Leader Behind 1995 Sarin Gas Subway Attack," 5 July 2018 The Sufi protesters were demonstrating against the arrests of members of their sect. Melissa Etehad,, "Iran draws condemnation for execution of Sufi convicted of killing police," 19 June 2018 During his 16 years in the job—from 1861 to his death in 1877—he transformed the publication from the mouthpiece of a laissez-faire sect into the voice of mature Gladstonian liberalism. The Economist, "A new biography of Walter Bagehot, “the greatest Victorian”," 8 Aug. 2019 Since 2009, Boko Haram has grown from being a fringe religious sect to being a brutal terrorist group. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "The ominous parallels with Nigeria’s handling of a rising Islamic sect and early-day Boko Haram," 29 July 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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Statistics for sect

Last Updated

21 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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