The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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Ku Klux Klan
(1,321 words)

1. The Ku Klux Klan, later the “Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan,” is phonetically derived from the Greek kúklos (‘cycle,’ or ‘circle’), appending an arbitrary spelling of ‘clan’ for the purpose of a triple visual alliteration that might inspire curiosity and uneasiness. The name originally designated a secret society of white men in the American Southern States unwilling to come to terms with the outcome of the Civil War (1861…

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Unger, Frank, “Ku Klux Klan”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 17 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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