- 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.
Origin of caste
Related Words for castestratum, status, standing, degree, estate, grade, station, rank, order, sphere, race, lineage, position, species
Examples from the Web for caste
Contemporary Examples of caste
After all, caste is the most resistant feature of our politics, so why not just make it the basis for states formation?India’s Newest State Telangana Is Bosnia Redux
March 22, 2014
If races are our castes, then this makes sense, since—in a caste system—your status is mostly a function of your position.Are Black Names ‘Weird,’ or Are You Just Racist?
September 13, 2013
When one caste gains too much power, it brings its own brand of disaster.This Week’s Hot Reads: April 15, 2013
April 15, 2013
“You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State,” he declared.Why Pakistan's Mohammed Ali Jinnah Was No Nelson Mandela
April 7, 2013
We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all caste, color, and creed.A Day for Malala
November 9, 2012
Historical Examples of caste
They will form a caste—poor, stern to itself, and redoubtable.Initiation into Philosophy
The Vaisyas, who constitute the third caste, issued from Brahma's belly.The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ
"We hear this is a religion which spoils our Caste," they say, and that is the end of it.
He said no one had been convicted, "the Caste had seen to that."
Or take the power of Caste in another direction—its callous cruelty.
Word Origin for caste
1550s, "a race of men," from Latin castus "chaste," from castus "cut off, separated; pure" (via notion of "cut off" from faults), past participle of carere "to be cut off from" (and related to castration), from PIE *kas-to-, from root *kes- "to cut" (cf. Latin cassus "empty, void"). Originally spelled cast in English and later often merged with cast (n.) in its secondary sense "sort, kind, style."
Application to Hindu social groups was picked up by English in India 1610s from Portuguese casta "breed, race, caste," earlier casta raça, "unmixed race," from the same Latin word. The current spelling of of the English word is from this reborrowing. Caste system is first recorded 1840.
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.