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
2a : a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession, occupation, or raceb : 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
casteismplay \ˈkas-ˌti-zəm\ noun
Examples of caste in a Sentence
He was from a higher caste.
a member of the upper caste
Recent Examples of caste from the Web
Members of the lower caste Dalit community, many of whom consumer beef as a staple, have also been targeted by Hindu mobs.
In her subsequent career, writing anti-establishment non-fiction, she’s railed against India’s injustices: the inequitable distribution of wealth born of capitalist enterprise, for instance, and the enduring ills of the Hindu caste system.
Arundhati Roy has written a fiercely unforgettable novel about gender, terrorism, Indian’s caste system, corruption and politics.
Roy’s novel is marbled with mordant anecdotes and sardonic humor that hit their marks on the absurdity of nationalism, caste, fundamentalism, war, gender politics and the human condition.
My mother told me we’re considered Shudras by the upper castes.
There is also no single nongovernmental organization or U.N.-affiliated civil society group that exclusively tackles the issues of the global caste system, like race, gender, sexuality and colonialism.
The Dalits are at the bottom of the Indian caste hierarchy and are currently the oldest surviving oppressed group in the world.
The past two years have also seen a rise in vigilante attacks on Muslims and lower caste Hindus involved in the cattle trade.
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
First Known Use: 1613See Words from the same year
CASTE Defined for English Language Learners
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
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