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Definition of "caste" []

  • Any of the hereditary, endogamous social classes or subclasses of traditional Hindu society, stratified according to Hindu ritual purity, especially the Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra castes. (noun)
  • A social class separated from others by distinctions of hereditary rank, profession, or wealth. (noun)
  • A social system or the principle of grading society based on castes. (noun)
  • The social position or status conferred by a system based on castes: lose caste by doing work beneath one's station. (noun)
  • A specialized level in a colony of social insects, such as ants, in which the members, such as workers or soldiers, carry out a specific function. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "caste" in a sentence
  • "It may seem to many of my readers that to use the term caste as a principle which impels one Scotchman to help another is not exactly correct; and I must admit to having some doubts on the subject myself."
  • "But the word "caste" is routinely used by government experts to refer to social strata in underprivileged Muslim communities."
  • "The following is taken from Rumer Godden's short story "The Oyster," about a young Indian, Gopal, of the Hindu Brahmin caste, who is happily studying in France and learning all things western."