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
The past two years have also seen a rise in vigilante attacks on Muslims and lower caste Hindus involved in the cattle trade.
At the same time, a new caste of oligarchs emerged, many with close personal ties to Putin.
By Grace in Bangalore come from the lowest rung of the Indian caste system: the untouchables.
The offices and titles of the ruling nomenklatura changed, but the Soviet bureaucratic caste remained as power brokers with no accountability or transparency.
Hamilton saw the emergence of a caste system as the inevitable consequences of societies forever at war, one that could not be avoided by the noble intentions of those committed to defending those societies.
Many of the forms of discrimination that relegate African Americans to an inferior caste system during Jim Crow continue to apply to huge segments of the black population today—provided they are first labeled felons.
In January, universities across the country erupted in protests after a doctoral candidate at Hyderabad University who was a Dalit, or a member of India’s untouchable caste, hanged himself in a student residence.
And at that time, in the showbiz caste system, television hovered close to the bottom.
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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