Hypertext Webster Gateway: "sect"

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (easton)

(Gr. hairesis, usually rendered "heresy", Acts 24:14; 1 Chr.
11:19; Gal. 5:20, etc.), meaning properly "a choice," then "a
chosen manner of life," and then "a religious party," as the
"sect" of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17), of the Pharisees (15:5),
the Nazarenes, i.e., Christians (24:5). It afterwards came to be
used in a bad sense, of those holding pernicious error,
divergent forms of belief (2 Pet. 2:1; Gal. 5:20).

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Sect \Sect\, n. [L. secare, sectum, to cut.]
A cutting; a scion. [Obs.] --Shak.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Sect \Sect\, n. [F. secte, L. sects, fr. sequi to follew; 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

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.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: a subdivision of a larger religious group [syn: {religious
sect}, {religious order}]
2: a dissenting clique [syn: {faction}]

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