cult / kŭlt
1. a religion or religious group, often deviating from established religions and under the influence of a charismatic leader
A cult is a religion with no political power.
Tom Wolfe, 1931 –
2. a group of followers that adhere to the rites and teachings of a religion considered to be extreme or false
The less reasonable a cult is, the more men seek to establish it by force.
Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, 1671 – 1741
3. a group resembling a religious organization that obtains followers by using duplicitous psychological methods
Manson’s cult arose out of San Francisco’s predatory hippie culture and ended in the shadow of Hollywood.
Aja Romano, “The Manson Family murders, and their complicated legacy, explained” www.vox.com/2019/8/7/20695284/charles-manson-family-what-is-helter-skelter-explained, August 7, 2019, 1:25pm EST
4. a group which follows a unique set of doctrines and ceremonial practices, which often lacks an organized structure
The cult of moral grayness is a revolt against moral values.
Ayn Rand, 1905 – 1982
5. an extreme or obsessive interest in a person, idea or thing
Humility was a cult in my family.
Hugh Laurie, 1959 –
6. a relatively small group that shares a unique interest in something considered to be in vogue by the group, such as with art
The cult of art gives pride; one never has too much of it.
Gustave Flaubert, 1821 – 1880
1. relating to a group that follows a unique set of doctrines
Most often the earlier a cult member is approached through an intervention the more likely they are to be responsive.
Rick Ross, 1976 –
2. having ardent fans or followers
It [White Castle] is a cult brand that has developed a strong, loyal following.
Ron Paul, 1935 –
Ultimately from the Latin verb colo, colere,colui, cultus (care for, cultivate) through the Latin noun cultus (cultivation, care, culture, husbandry) and the French derivative culte (worship, cult, religion).
Thank you to Allen Ward for providing this etymology.