|A Dalit (or Untouchable) woman of Bombay, India, c. 1942|
Noun. Also (obsolete) cast. Mid-16th century.
[Spanish & Portuguese casta use as noun (raza, raça race) of feminine of casto pure, unmixed from Latin castus chaste.]
1 A race, a stock, a breed. Obsolete in general sense. M16
2(a) A Hindu hereditary class of socially equal persons, united in religion and usually following similar occupations,
distinguished from other castes in the hierarchy by its relative degree of purity or pollution. E17
2(b) Any more or less exclusive social class. E19
3 The position conferred by membership of a caste. L18
4 The system of division of society into castes. M19
5 The form of a social insect having a particular function. M19
|A diagram of the Hindu caste system. Although caste-based discrimination is illegal in India, |
it is still common, particularly against those deemed Untouchable, or without caste.
(diagram by Dave Hallmon)
Do please leave any comments in the box below.