From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- This article gives a general cultural account of "cult". For its usage in the original sense of "veneration" or "religious practice" see Cult (religious practice). For religious groups with modern origins see New religious movement. For religion in general see Religion. For other uses see Cult (disambiguation).
Usage of the word has been controversial. One reason is that the word "cult" (as used in the pejorative sense) is considered a subjective term, used as an ad hominem attack against groups with simply differing doctrines or practices, and without a clear or consistent definition.
The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The word was first used in the early 17th century denoting homage paid to a divinity and borrowed via the French culte from Latin cultus "worship", from the adjective cultus "inhabited, cultivated, worshipped", derived from the verb colere "care, cultivate."
- Cults and new religious movements in literature and popular culture
- Cult of personality
- Cult following