an endogamous and hereditary social group limited to persons of the same rank, occupation, economic position, etc., and having mores distinguishing it from other such groups.
any rigid system of social distinctions.
Hinduism. any of the social divisions into which Hindu society is traditionally divided, each caste having its own privileges and limitations, transferred by inheritance from one generation to the next; jati.: Compare class (def. 13).
any class or group of society sharing common cultural features: low caste; high caste.
social position conferred upon one by a caste system: to lose caste.
Entomology. one of the distinct forms among polymorphous social insects, performing a specialized function in the colony, as a queen, worker or soldier.
of, relating to, or characterized by caste: a caste society; a caste system; a caste structure.
- casteism, noun
- casteless, adjective
- an·ti·caste, adjective
- in·ter·caste, adjective
- subcaste, noun
- cast, caste
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use caste in a sentence
Her very presence on a sabha stage — an elite space historically dominated by upper-caste Brahmins — is a “political act,” Pillai tells me.No Dirty Dancing: India’s Classical Dancers Break Caste Taboos | Charu Kasturi | December 4, 2020 | Ozy
“They don’t bring up caste, but they can easily identify us,” Kaila says, rattling off all of the ways he can be outed as potentially being Dalit, including the fact that he has darker skin.India’s engineers have thrived in Silicon Valley. So has its caste system. | Nitasha Tiku | October 28, 2020 | Washington Post
Right now, the truth is that we are living in precarious times – we always have been, to one degree or another, depending on where you are in the disparity that is this American caste system.For Heather Matarazzo, ‘Equal’ is still a cause worth fighting for | John Paul King | October 20, 2020 | Washington Blade
Intersections of gender, class, age and caste play a significant role in pushing women into exploitative situations.
My wife and I learnt a great deal about race, caste, and social boundaries.We won’t have a true economic recovery until we tackle the racial wealth gap | matthewheimer | September 1, 2020 | Fortune
Such teaching is revolutionary in still-caste-divided India.Is India’s Fallen ‘God-Man’ So Different From a Megachurch Pastor? | Jay Michaelson | November 21, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The upper bureaucracy has evolved into a privileged and cossetted caste.Watch What You Say, The New Liberal Power Elite Won’t Tolerate Dissent | Joel Kotkin | June 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
If we say yes to Telangana, why not say yes to caste-based states?
After all, caste is the most resistant feature of our politics, so why not just make it the basis for states formation?
Just last week, at another exclusive do, Larry Summers delivered another shocking address to another slice of the master caste.The Race Is On in Silicon Valley to Escape Real America | James Poulos | November 30, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Yet how came it that even a low-caste mongrel of a Lascar should offer such an overt insult to a Brahmin!The Red Year | Louis Tracy
caste is a thing you should be very careful of in these days, so the best thing is to ask for the Bear-Garden straightaway.
Until a few years ago the quarter known as the, Parian was the flourishing centre of the half-caste traders.The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
Several American officers were present on the occasion, accompanied by a Spanish half-caste who acted as their interpreter.The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
The labour of the spade and of the loom, and the petty gains of trade, he contemptuously abandoned to men of a lower caste.The History of England from the Accession of James II. | Thomas Babington Macaulay
British Dictionary definitions for caste
Also called: caste system the system or basis of such classes
the social position or rank conferred by this system
any social class or system based on such distinctions as heredity, rank, wealth, profession, etc
the position conferred by such a system
entomol any of various types of specialized individual, such as the worker, in social insects (hive bees, ants, etc)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for caste
A specialized group carrying out a specific function within a colony of social insects. For example, in an ant colony, members of the caste of workers forage for food outside the colony or tend eggs and larvae, while the members of the caste of soldiers, often larger with stronger jaws, are responsible for defense of the colony.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for caste
One of the four hereditary social divisions in Hinduism. Members of any one caste are restricted in their choice of occupation and may have only limited association with members of other castes.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.