'Sect', as opposed to cult, denotes a splinter group from an established religion. For example, Christianity was initially a sect of Judaism, while now, groups such as baptists can be considered a sect of Protestant Christianity. Indeed, Protestantism began as Martin Luther's splinter group from Roman Catholicism.

In other words, a sect is simply a relatively new denomination of an existing religion: too sane to be a cult, and too small or dependent on its beginnings to be a separate religion.

Sect (?), n. [L. secare, sectum, to cut.]

A cutting; a scion.

[Obs.]

Shak.

© Webster 1913.


Sect (?), n. [F. secte, L. sects, fr. sequi to follow; often confused with L. secare, sectum, to cut. See Sue to follow, and cf. Sept, Suit, n.]

Those following a particular leader or authority, or attached to a certain opinion; a company or set having a common belief or allegiance distinct from others; in religion, the believers in a particular creed, or upholders of a particular practice; especially, in modern times, a party dissenting from an established church; a denomination; in philosophy, the disciples of a particular master; a school; in society and the state, an order, rank, class, or party.

He beareth the sign of poverty,
And in that sect our Savior saved all mankind.
Piers Plowman.

As of the sect of which that he was born,
He kept his lay, to which that he was sworn.
Chaucer.

The cursed sect of that detestable and false prophet Mohammed.
Fabyan.

As concerning this sect [Christians], we know that everywhere it is spoken against.
Acts xxviii. 22.

© Webster 1913.

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