cult

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See also: cult.

English[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

Etymology[edit]

From French culte, from Latin cultus (care, adoration; cult), from colō (cultivate; protect).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /kʌlt/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌlt

Noun[edit]

cult (plural cults)

  1. (chiefly derogatory) A group, sect or movement following an unorthodox religious or philosophical system of beliefs, especially one in which members remove and exclude themselves from greater society, including family members not part of the cult, and show extreme devotion to a charismatic leader.
    Two former cult members explain the difficulties they had extricating themselves from it.
    • 1985, Rodney Stark, Religious movements: Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers, Paragon House Publishers, →ISBN, page 167:
      Werner Erhard's highly successful est cult is partly derived from Scientology. Erhard had some experience with Scientology in 1969. Then he worked for a while in Mind Dynamics, itself an offshoot of Jose Silva's Mind Control.
    • 1996, John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House Publishers, →ISBN, page 216:
      There are scores of modern religious cults and sects that have been influenced by Hinduism to varying degrees. Werner Erhard, founder of 'Landmark Education's 'The Forum',' and 'est' seminars, which have about 700,000 graduates, was influenced by Hinduism through Swami Muktananda, one of Erhard's principal gurus.
    • 1997, Len Oakes, “Followers and Their Quest”, in Prophetic charisma: The Psychology of Prophetic Charisma, Syracuse University Press, →ISBN, page 137:
      Outsiders often criticize the extreme commitment of group members. But what is really happening is that leader and followers are conspiring to realize a vision that is falsified daily. For the cult is not paradise, and the leader is not God. Hence the follower is embattled; to squarely confront the many failings of the leader and the group is to call into question one's own great work. Only by daily recommitting himself can the follower continue to work toward his ultimate goal. Each follower works out a secret compromise, acknowledging some things while denying or distorting others. Clearly this is a high-risk strategy that may go awry.
    • 1998 June 17, Scott McLemee, “Rethinking Jonestown”, in Salon.com[1]:
      The difference between a cult and an established religion is sometimes about one generation.
    • 1998 June 17, Scott McLemee, “Rethinking Jonestown”, in Salon.com[2]:
      If Jones' People's Temple wasn't a cult, then the term has no meaning.
    • 2000, Jenkins, Philip, Mystics and Messiahs : Cults and New Religions in American History, London: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 180:
      Another potent element of the new cult milieu was the therapy sect, which offered believers the chance to achieve their full human potential through personal growth and self-actualization by taking total responsibility for one's actions. The prototypical movement of this kind was est (Erhard Seminar Training), in which intense and often grueling sessions forced followers to confront a new view of reality.
    • 2016 November 6, “Multilevel Marketing”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 29, HBO:
      He sounds like a cult leader about to demand his followers drink poison. And it frankly doesn’t help that he looks like Jim Jones to a genuinely creepy degree.
  2. The veneration, devotion, and religious rites given to a deity (especially in a historical polytheistic context), or (in a Christian context) to a saint.
    the cult of Apollo
    the cult of Mary
  3. (informal) A group of people having an obsession with or intense admiration for a particular activity, idea, person or thing.
    the heavy metal cult; the cult of basketball; the guitarist's cult of loyal fans; the cult of celebrity

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective[edit]

cult (not comparable)

  1. Of or relating to a cult.
  2. Enjoyed by a small, loyal group.
    a cult horror movie
    • 2008 August 8, Ronald Bergan, “Don't confuse cults with classics”, in The Guardian[3]:
      To a certain extent, the cult movie and the classic are opposites, appealing to vastly different audiences. Whereas a film can become an instant cult, and then forgotten, a film cannot become an “instant classic”, which is only critical shorthand for “excellent”.
    • 2021 April 21, William Grimes, “Monte Hellman, Cult Director of ‘Two-Lane Blacktop,’ Dies at 91”, in The New York Times[4], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Monte Hellman, whose terse action films, epitomized by the 1971 road movie “Two-Lane Blacktop,” made him a cult hero of the American independent film movement, died on Tuesday in Palm Desert, Calif.
  3. (neologism, music) Alternative form of kvlt.

Usage notes[edit]

The term has a positive connotation for groups of art, music, writing, fiction, and fashion devotees, but a negative connotation for new religious, extreme political, questionable therapeutic, and pyramidal business groups.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Friulian[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Phonetik.svg This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with the IPA then please add some!

Noun[edit]

cult m (plural cults)

  1. This term needs a translation to English. Please help out and add a translation, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.

Ladin[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Phonetik.svg This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with the IPA then please add some!

Noun[edit]

cult m (plural cults)

  1. cult, religion

Piedmontese[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cult m

  1. This term needs a translation to English. Please help out and add a translation, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.

Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English cult. Doublet of culto.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

cult (invariable, comparable)

  1. cult (enjoyed by a small, loyal group)

Romanian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French culte, from Latin cultus (care, adoration; cult), from colō (cultivate; protect).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cult n (plural culte)

  1. cult

Declension[edit]

Derived terms[edit]