A Catalogue of the Severall Sects and Opinions in England and other Nations: With a briefe Rehearsall of their false and dangerous Tenents
. Broadsheet. 1647
The word sect comes from the Latin noun secta (a feminine form of a variant past participle of the verb sequi, to follow), meaning "a way, road", and figuratively a (prescribed) way, mode, or manner, and hence metonymously, a discipline or school of thought as defined by a set of methods and doctrines. The present gamut of meanings of sect has been influenced by confusion with the homonymous (but etymologically unrelated) Latin word secta (the feminine form of the past participle of the verb secare, to cut), as though sects were scissions cast aside from the mainstream religion.