According to the following definition from Merriam-Webster, the primary definition of a cult refers to "formal religious veneration, and worship". However there has been a growing trend to refer to any group considered to be outside the mainstream as a cult. The term is now considered to be pejorative. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary: 1. Formal religious veneration. Worship. 2. system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents 3. a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents 4. a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion
Random house dictionary: 1. a particular system of religion, especially with referring to its rites and ceremonies 2. a group that devotes itself or venerates a person, ideal, fad, etc. 3. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist the members of such a religion or sect
The Free Dictionary: In religion and sociology, a cult is a cohesive group of people (often a relatively small and new religious movement) devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be far outside the mainstream. Its marginal status may come about either due to its novel belief system or because of its idiosyncratic practices. In common usage, "cult" has a negative connotation, and is generally applied to a group by its opponents, for a variety of possible reasons. The literal and traditional meanings of the word cult is derived from the Latin cultus, meaning "care" or "adoration", as "a system of religious belief or ritual; or: the body of adherents to same".