st) KEY NOUN:
- 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.
- A social class separated from others by distinctions of hereditary rank, profession, or wealth.
- A social system or the principle of grading society based on castes.
- The social position or status conferred by a system based on castes: lose caste by doing work beneath one's station.
- 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.
, and Portuguese casta
, race, caste
, both from feminine of casto
, from Latin castus
; see kes-
in Indo-European roots