- a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.
- a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.
- (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.
- any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.
- a combining form with the meaning “cut,” used in the formation of compound words bisect, dissect, exsect.
- a subdivision of a larger religious group (esp the Christian Church as a whole) the members of which have to some extent diverged from the rest by developing deviating beliefs, practices, etc
- often derogatory
- a schismatic religious body characterized by an attitude of exclusivity in contrast to the more inclusive religious groups called denominations or Churches
- a religious group regarded as extreme or heretical
- a group of people with a common interest, doctrine, etc; faction
- to cut or divide, esp into a specified number of partstrisect
n.mid-14c., “distinctive system of beliefs or observances; party or school within a religion,” from Old French secte, sete “sect, religious community,” or directly from Late Latin secta “religious group, sect in philosophy or religion,” from Latin secta “manner, mode, following, school of thought,” literally “a way, road, beaten path,” from fem. of sectus, variant past participle of sequi “follow,” from PIE *sekw- (1) “to follow” (see sequel). Confused in this sense with Latin secta, fem. past participle of secare “to cut” (see section (n.)). Meaning “separately organized religious body” is recorded from 1570s. A religious group, especially one that has separated from a larger group. Sect is often a term of disapproval.