SECT , a
See also:body of persons holding distinctive or
See also:separate doctrines or opinions, especially in matters of religion; thus there are various sects among the Jews, the Mahommedans, and the Buddhists, &c . In the Christian
See also:Church it has usually a hostile or depreciatory sense and is applied, like " sectary," to all religious bodies outside the one to which the user of the
See also:term belongs . The latter use has been influenced by the false etymology which makes the word mean " cut off " (
See also:Lat. secare, to cut) . The derivation has been long a
See also:matter of dispute . The Latin secta was used in classical Latin first of a way, a trodden or beaten path ; it seems to be derived from secare, to cut, cf. the phrase secare viam, to travel, take one's way, Gr. r zvecv bIbv . From the phrase sec/am sequi, to follow in the footsteps of any one, the word came to mean a party, following,
See also:faction . Another transferred sense is a manner or mode of
See also:life, so hanc sectam rationemque vitae . . . secuti sumus (Cie . Gael . 17, 40) . It was also the
See also:regular word for a school of philosophy and so translates alpeats, lit. choice (alpeIaBac,to choose), from which is derived "
See also:heresy " (q.v.) . The Vulgate (N.T.) translates aipeocs sometimes by secta, sometimes by haeresis .
In Med . Lat., besides these uses we find secta meaning a suit at
See also:law, a suit of clothes, and a following or suite . These meanings point to the derivation of secta adopted by
See also:Skeat (Etym .
See also:Diet., 1910) ; which connects the word with sequi, to follow . Whichever derivation is accepted a " sect " does not mean a
See also:part " cut off " from the church .
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