[ dah-lit ]

noun,plural Da·lits, (especially collectively) Da·lit.Sometimes Offensive.
  1. a member of the Scheduled Castes in India, sometimes also considered to include a member of the Scheduled Tribes.

  2. a member of any of India’s oppressed peoples.

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”
  • Sometimes dalit .

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.

Words Nearby Dalit

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use Dalit in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Dalit


/ (ˈdɑːlɪt) /

  1. a member of the lowest class in India, whom those of the four main castes were formerly forbidden to touch: Formerly called: offensive untouchable

Origin of 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