Cargo Cult Definition

One of a number of religious movements arising in Melanesia and New Guinea especially as a result of the influx of American military materiel during the 1940s, seeking to usher in an age of great material wealth by ritually imitating the behaviors of Americans or Europeans.
American Heritage
A quasi-religious cult among some South Sea islanders, inspired by their limited understanding of modern cargo shipments and characterized by a belief that the spirits of their ancestors will return with supplies of modern goods, thus inaugurating a golden age of prosperity and independence.
Webster's New World

Any of several unorthodox religious movements among the people of Melanesia based upon Western manufactured goods.


(figuratively) Any of several philosophies or pseudosciences that are not rooted in experiment.


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