From Portuguese or Spanish casta (“lineage, breed, race”), of uncertain origin. The OED derives it from Portuguese casto (“chaste”), from Latin castus. Coromines (1987) argues instead for a hypothetical Gothic form *𐌺𐌰𐍃𐍄𐍃 (*kasts), cognate with English cast, from Proto-Germanic *kastuz
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: käst, IPA(key): /kɑːst/
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- Homophones: cast, karst
- Rhymes: -ɑːst
caste (plural castes)
- Any of the hereditary social classes and subclasses of South Asian societies.
- A separate and fixed order or class of persons in society who chiefly associate with each other.
- The tinkers then formed an hereditary caste.