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cult (n.)

1610年代, “崇拜, 敬意” (这一意义现已过时); 1670年代, “一种特殊的崇拜形式或制度;” 来自法语 culte (17世纪), 来自拉丁语 cultus “照顾, 劳动; 耕作, 文化; 崇拜, 敬畏”, 原为“照料, 栽培”, colere “耕作” 的过去分词(见 colony).

这个词在17世纪后很少见, 但在19世纪中叶又重新出现(有时以法语形式 culte), 指古代或原始的宗教信仰和崇拜体系, 特别是这种崇拜中采用的仪式和典礼. 延伸含义“专心致志地关注某一个人或某一件事” 是从1829年开始的.

Cult. An organized group of people, religious or not, with whom you disagree. [Hugh Rawson, “Wicked Words,” 1993]

Cult is a term which, as we value exactness, we can ill do without, seeing how completely religion has lost its original signification. Fitzedward Hall, “Modern English,” 1873]

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Definitions of cult from WordNet

cult (n.)
followers of an exclusive system of beliefs and practices;
cult (n.)
an interest followed with exaggerated zeal;
Synonyms: fad / craze / furor / furore / rage
cult (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;
cult (n.)
a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false;
it was a satanic cult
cult (n.)
a system of religious beliefs and rituals;
Synonyms: cultus / religious cult
From wordnet.princeton.edu