- Def: Sect 1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination; 2. a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition; 3. (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches; 4. any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader;
- Origin: c.1300, "distinctive system of beliefs or observances; party or school within a religion," from O.Fr. secte, from L.L. secta "religious group, sect," from L. secta "manner, mode, following, school of thought," lit. "a way, road," from fem. of sectus, variant pp. of sequi "follow," from PIE *sekw- "to follow" (see sequel). Confused in this sense with L. secta, fem. pp. of secare "to cut" (see section). Meaning "separately organized religious body" is recorded from 1577. Sectarian first recorded 1649, originally applied by Presbyterians to Independents, from M.L. sectarius, from secta;
- Synonyms: camp, church, communion, connection, creed, crew, cult, denomination, division, faction, faith, following, group, order, party, persuasion, religion, school, splinter group, team, wing.