caste

noun \ ˈkast also ˈkäst \

Definition of caste

1 :one of the hereditary social classes in Hinduism that restrict the occupation of their members and their association with the members of other castes
2 a :a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession, occupation, or race
b :the position conferred by caste standing :prestige
  • art and religion have lost caste
  • —F. L. Baumer
3 :a system of rigid social stratification characterized by hereditary status, endogamy, and social barriers sanctioned by custom, law, or religion
4 :a specialized form (such as the worker of an ant or bee) of a polymorphic social insect that carries out a particular function in the colony
  • soldier castes for fighting enemy ants

casteism

play \ˈkas-ˌti-zəm\ noun

Examples of caste in a Sentence

  1. He was from a higher caste.

  2. a member of the upper caste

Recent Examples of caste from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caste.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of caste

Portuguese casta, literally, race, lineage, from feminine of casto pure, chaste, from Latin castus


CASTE Defined for English Language Learners

caste

noun

Definition of caste for English Language Learners

  • : one of the classes into which the Hindu people of India were traditionally divided

  • : a division of society based upon differences of wealth, rank, or occupation


CASTE Defined for Kids

caste

noun \ ˈkast \

Definition of caste for Students

1 :one of the classes into which the Hindu people of India were formerly divided
2 :a division or class of society based on wealth, rank, or occupation
3 :social rank :prestige


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