You may have heard the word cult in reference to extreme religious sects. I don’t know about you, but I think a good documentary about a cult is fascinating! But did you know that the root word cult actually means “to grow”? If you think about the word cult when it comes to the religious meaning, they definitely grow out of a certain belief.

If you take a look at the words that have the root word cult in them in English, you’ll see that they all have something to do with things growing. Whether it’s a culture that develops in a society, or viticulturists (people who grow grapes to be turned into wine), words stemming from cult are everywhere!

This week we’ve found some examples of words that come from the root word cult, and along with definitions from Merriam-Webster and examples we hope will help you grow your English vocabulary.


(n): the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices (routines, habits) that characterizes an institution or organization

For example:

  • The German culture is quite different from the Chinese culture.


(v): to foster (encourage, help) the growth of

For example:

  • The farmer cultivates his crops and then sells them at the market.


(n): the science or occupation of farming

For example:

  • He studied agriculture at school to become a farmer.


(adj): of, relating to, reflecting, or adapted to diverse cultures

For example:

  • Berlin is a very multicultural city. There are people from all over the world there!


(n): a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion, and that has beliefs regarded (thought to be) by many people as extreme or dangerous

For example:

  • Did you see the new documentary about the cult on Netflix? It was really interesting.


(n): the process by which a human being acquires (gets, takes on) the culture of a particular society from infancy (a baby, or very young)

For example:

  • Children adapt to society quickly through acculturation.


(n): the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental (decoration, for show) plants

For example:

  • The flower arranger had studied horticulture for many years. She produced the best flowers I had ever seen.


(n): a group that has beliefs and behaviors that are different from the main groups within a culture or society

For example:

  • People said the city started dying (losing life, losing energy) when there was no subculture anymore.

Do you know any other words that come from the root word cult? Make sure to share them with us in the comments below!

Buy Lessons

Did you like this blog? Share it with others! Let us know what YOU think!

Check out these other popular blogs: Dating Vocabulary in English10 Business English Idioms You Should KnowDouble Negatives in English, or these 7 Spanish Words Used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and would humbly consider herself quite cultured, yet growing all the time!  

Looking for more phrases, ways to use English everyday, or get the conversation started? Sign up for our newsletter or check out the website!