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Definition of KSHATRIYA
: a Hindu of an upper caste traditionally assigned to governing and military occupations
Origin of KSHATRIYA
Sanskrit kṣatriya, from kṣatra dominion — more at check
First Known Use: 1794
In Hindu India, the second-highest of the four varnas, or social classes, traditionally the military or ruling class. In ancient times before the caste system was completely defined, they were considered first in rank, placed higher than the Brahmans, or priestly class. The legend that they were degraded by an incarnation of Vishnu as a punishment for their tyranny may reflect a historical struggle for supremacy between priests and rulers. In modern times the Kshatriya varna includes members from a variety of castes, united by their status in government or the military or their land ownership.