A group, often times though not always religious or spiritual in nature, that is led by a single or small group of leader(s).

Members are often recruited or by some means persuaded to join, rarely if ever knowing how destructive and harmful a cult can be -- rarely knowing that it IS a cult. Though they usual come off as being generous, caring and in the best interests of their members, cults are inherently based on furthering the desires of cult leaders.

Cult leaders commonly use thought reform or "brainwashing", in conjunction with other methods, to slowly and deliberately reel in more control of said members. In many cases, members may eventually forsake their friends and family (non-members are viewed as "wrong" or "bad") and give up their careers, homes and/or money to the leader.
Jonestown is an infamous example of a cult. Many people were recruited to what was portrayed to be a friendly, all-inclusive and loving community church. Through years of exponential thought reform, however, members would eventually devote their lives to Jim Jones and, in effect, die for him.

Note: Not all cults are harmful in nature. Many are benign, i.e. trekkies.

See www.rickross.com for more extensive definitions.
by Camryn March 24, 2005
any religion
any religion
any religion
any religion
all religions
all religions
all religions
all religions
are cults
by sajorojas July 23, 2006
One of the chief exports of the United States, examples being Pentecostalism, Southern Baptists, Pat Robertson, and key members of the Bush Administration.
The former USSR is learning fast that religious freedom can have a downside, thanks to the influx of various cults, most of which originate in the US.
by LudwigVan November 11, 2003
A big group of religious people.
Ex. Utah is one big cult
by Ave boss February 20, 2014
1: A religious group that usually features a charismatic or controlling leader or group of leaders, promotes an unhealthy suspicion of people outside the group (Especially former members) and promotes a strict set of rules that may be harmful to the person.

Often times, they promote martyrdom for rules based on unusual and sometimes false premises.

2: A rock band from the UK, featuring Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy.
Def 1: Cults come in many flavors. From your psychologically lethal Branch Davidians and Flirty Fishers to your somewhat mainstream, but still isolationastic ones like The Way International, Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses

2: Ian Astbury ruined not just one, but good bands by leaving The Cult to go sing for The Doors of the 21rst Century
by Bob Almighty. April 26, 2005
Cult refers to a very specific organization that is groups together general peoples by a great force. Usually occurs in high school and may strike some perverted middle schoolers.
Some type of tradition must be set that creates a very conspiracy-like setting.
We had a powow at Nancy's house yesterday, I think we may be a Cult.
by CheezyPumpkinPie April 13, 2009
underground not of the mainstream
any horror movie is totally cult
by Anonymous November 03, 2003
A religious/non religious group that follows a series of strict beliefs, may include worshiping a specific God/Deity or multiple Gods/Deities, or following strict specific ideals. May involve some form of brainwashing that their knowledge is correct and that everyone else is wrong, WILL have a hierarchy, and may be lead by one of a small group of Charismatic leaders, and typically will shun those who are ex-members.
It's the One True Religion! (I hear this from the Big Three Religions)

If you don't believe in God you are going to hell!

I've just been initiated into this super secret Order/Coven.

Yeah we are a cult, but we believe in peace and love, not fear and hate.

Not all of the above will apply to a cult, but at least one of the descriptions will. A Cult isn't necessarily Good or Evil, it depends on how the cult leaders use the power they have.
by SparkofClearity March 03, 2014

Free Daily Email

Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!

Emails are sent from daily@urbandictionary.com. We'll never spam you.