- 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.
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.
Can I live here and keep my Caste, and at the same time follow your God?
Then a Caste meeting was called to determine what could be done with this woman.
- 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)
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.
- 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.
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.