- Def: Cult 1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies; 2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers; 3. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader; 4. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease; 5. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest; 6. an interest followed with exaggerated zeal; 7. In anthropology, an organization for the conduct of ritual, magical, or other religious observances. Many so-called primitive tribes, for example, have ancestor cults, in which dead ancestors are considered divine and activities are organized to respect their memory and invoke their aid. A cult is also a religious group held together by a dominant, often charismatic individual, or by the worship of a divinity, an idol, or some other object;
- Origin: 1610–20; < L cultus habitation, tilling, refinement, worship, equiv. to cul-, var. s. of colere to inhabit, till, worship + -tus suffix of v. action;
- Synonyms: band, body, church, clan, clique, creed, denomination, faction, faith, following, party, persuasion, religion, school, sect.