Definitions of Cult
- (noun) A relatively small group that excessively controls its members, whom share set of acts and practices which require unwavering devotion, and are considered deviant (outside the norms of society), and typically led by a charismatic and often self-appointed leader.
- (noun) A individual, group, or object with a relatively small, but devoted fan-base and supporters.
Examples of Cult
- Definition 1:
- Definition 2:
- American English – /kUHlt/
- British English – /kUHlt/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /kəlt/
- British English – /kʌlt/
- Plural: cults
- The definition of cult is contested, particularly the difference between a cult and a religion. Importantly, a cult as sociologically defined does not need to be religiously based (i.e., health, philosophy, politics, therapeutic) but requires “religious” devotion.
- Cults are typically hierarchical, that uses formal and informal practices to socialize members. Often, cults work similarly as pyramid schemes and grooms vulnerable people to join through coercion and peer pressure.
- Cultbusters try to stop cults.
- Cybercults are Internet-based cults.
- Cult figures (e.g., cult leaders) have a cult following and typically exhibit charismatic authority.
- Works of art can achieve cult status.
- Also called:
- religious cult
- A (noun) cultist is a member of cult and a practitioner of (noun) cultistism with (adjective) cultic or (adjective) cultish or (adjective) cult-like beliefs.
- Religion Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “cult” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- charismatic authority
- new social movement theory
- total institution
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ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “cult.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 23, 2021 (https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
cult. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “cult.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 23, 2021. https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“cult.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2021. <https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/>.