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a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
b. The followers of such a religion or sect.
2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
3. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.
4. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.
a. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
b. The object of such devotion.
6. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

[Latin cultus, worship, from past participle of colere, to cultivate; see kwel- in Indo-European roots.]

cul′tic, cult′ish adj.
cult′ism n.
cult′ist n.


(ˈkʌltɪʃ) or


intended to appeal to a small group of fashionable people
ˈcultishly adv
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References in periodicals archive ?
Kidman will play a detective with the LAPD named Erin Bell, whose undercover work inside a cultish gang in the California desert at the beginning of her career ended in tragedy, leaving her with enduring psychic scars, reports Deadline.
Will that cultish selfbelief now infect the rest of the country?
Granted, weaning ourselves away from cultish star-mania can be a tall order for 'addicts' and diehard fans.
Zahid Zaman, 43, was the ring leader of a cultish gang from North Tyneside that turned on Jimmy Prout, 45, and began months of torture leading up to his death.
Johnson was dubbed "Airbnb's Sheryl Sandberg" by online publication Backchannel which writes, "Under her watch, the company has created a cultish social movement around its efforts to connect strangers and foster cultural belonging.
There were rumors of cultish rituals - Choi's father was the leader of a cult - being performed in the presidential palace.
Janov's great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were "rejected and unloved," because "only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.
Elected members who crave power to force social change will be pitted against Corbyn's cultish fans, many of whom prefer principled campaigning to real action sculpted by government.
Literary references and messages from the stars add wit and wisdom to three cozy mystery debuts, wherein leading ladies go toe-to-toe with the odd, the cultish and the rapacious.
The Path" sought to establish its characters in such a way that the audience wouldn't judge them for joining a cultish belief.
As international and campus politics alike show us how cultish obeisance to the protocols of ideological purity threatens to reemerge as an intellectual yardstick, particularly around concepts of Jewish identity and homeland, Dalia Kandiyoti and Dean Franco have gathered in this special issue essays that, collectively, work to show how purity operates as an impossible, and dangerous, standard.
Writing recently in the New York Times, Jennifer Kahn made the workshop sound a bit cultish, but she learned some useful tricks.