cult

People argue about whether the major religions of the world are just well-established cults — that, age and size aside, they are no different from any group that follows a spiritual leader.

A cult is group of people defined by a "religious" devotion to something — often a self-appointed leader. Most people view cults as strange and frightening, mostly because cults have, over the years, done some strange and frightening things, including murders and mass suicides. Sometimes, too, you'll see cult used as an adjective to describe something or someone with a small, devoted fan-base. John Water's movies are cult favorites, adored by a select group of film lovers but not by the public at large.

Primary Meanings of cult

1.
n
a system of religious beliefs and rituals
2.
n
an interest followed with exaggerated zeal
Full Definitions of cult
1

n a system of religious beliefs and rituals

Synonyms:
cultus, religious cult
Types:
show 6 types...
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cargo cult
a religious cult that anticipates a time of joy, serenity, and justice when salvation comes
macumba
a Brazilian religious cult of African origin; combines voodoo elements with singing and chanting and dancing
obeah, obi
a religious belief of African origin involving witchcraft and sorcery; practiced in parts of the West Indies and tropical Americas
Rastafarianism
a religious cult based on a belief that Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie) is the Messiah and that Africa (especially Ethiopia) is the Promised Land
hoodooism, vodoun, voodoo, voodooism
a religious cult practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries (especially Haiti); involves witchcraft and animistic deities
hoodoo
a practitioner of voodoo
Type of:
faith, religion, religious belief
a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny

n followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices

Types:
show 6 types...
hide 6 types...
macumba
(Brazil) followers of a religious cult of African origin
obeah, obi
(West Indies) followers of a religious system involving witchcraft and sorcery
Rastafarian
(Ethiopia) adherents of an African religion that regards Ras Tafari as divine
voodoo
(Haiti) followers of a religion that involves witchcraft and animistic deities
Rastafari, Rastas
(Jamaica) a Black youth subculture and religious movement that arose in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1950s; males grow hair in long dreadlocks and wear woolen caps; use marijuana and listen to reggae music
Wicca
a community of followers of the Wicca religion
Type of:
faith, organized religion, religion
an institution to express belief in a divine power

n a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false

“it was a satanic cult
Type of:
faith, religion, religious belief
a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny

n followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader

Types:
cargo cult
(Melanesia) the followers of one of several millenarian cults that believe salvation will come in the form of wealth (`cargo') brought by westerners; some ascribe divine attributes to westerners on first contact (especially to missionaries)
Type of:
faith, organized religion, religion
an institution to express belief in a divine power
2

n an interest followed with exaggerated zeal

Synonyms:
craze, fad, furor, furore, rage
Type of:
fashion
the latest and most admired style in clothes and cosmetics and behavior

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