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Dalit

[ dah-lit ]
/ ˈdɑˌlɪt /
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noun, plural Da·lits, (especially collectively) Da·lit.Sometimes Offensive.
a member of the Scheduled Castes in India, sometimes also considered to include a member of the Scheduled Tribes.
a member of any of India’s oppressed peoples.
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Sometimes dalit .

Origin of Dalit

First recorded in 1945–50; from Hindi dalit, from Neo-Sanskrit dalita, specific use of Sanskrit dalita “broken,” from root dal- “to break, burst, split”

usage note for Dalit

The term Dalit, which has replaced untouchable, can have negative connotations: its literal meaning is “oppressed; broken.” The Indian courts and government instead use the terms Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. But Dalit is used in the media and has been adopted by politically active group members as a positive term of self-reference. It generally represents a sense of solidarity and identity and holds political significance for members of this community.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use Dalit in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Dalit

Dalit
/ (ˈdɑːlɪt) /

noun
a member of the lowest class in India, whom those of the four main castes were formerly forbidden to touchFormerly called: offensive untouchable

Word Origin for Dalit

from Hindi, from Sanskrit dalita, literally: oppressed
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
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