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caste
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English Dictionary: caste by the DICT Development Group
2 results for caste
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
caste
n
  1. social status or position conferred by a system based on class; "lose caste by doing work beneath one's station"
  2. (Hinduism) a hereditary social class among Hindus; stratified according to ritual purity
  3. a social class separated from others by distinctions of hereditary rank or profession or wealth
  4. in some social insects (such as ants) a physically distinct individual or group of individuals specialized to perform certain functions in the colony
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Caste \Caste\, n. [Pg. casta race, lineage, fr. L. castus pure,
      chaste: cf. F. caste, of same origin.]
      1. One of the hereditary classes into which the Hindoos are
            divided according to the laws of Brahmanism.
  
      Note: The members of the same caste are theoretically of
               equal rank, and same profession or occupation, and may
               not eat or intermarry with those not of their own
               caste. The original are four, viz., the Brahmans, or
               sacerdotal order; the Kshatriyas, or soldiers and
               rulers; the Vaisyas, or husbandmen and merchants; and
               the Sudras, or laborers and mechanics. Men of no caste
               are Pariahs, outcasts. Numerous mixed classes, or
               castes, have sprung up in the progress of time.
  
      2. A separate and fixed order or class of persons in society
            who chiefly hold intercourse among themselves.
  
                     The tinkers then formed an hereditary caste.
                                                                              --Macaulay.
  
      {To lose caste}, to be degraded from the caste to which one
            has belonged; to lose social position or consideration.
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