outcaste


outcaste
/owt"kast', -kahst'/, n.
1. (in India) a person who has left or been expelled from his or her caste.
2. a person of no caste.
[1875-80; OUT- + CASTE]

* * *

▪ Hindu caste system
      in the Hindu caste system, an individual or group that has been thrown out of caste, usually for some ritual offense. The outcasting may be temporary or permanent. In the 19th century, a Hindu faced excommunication for going abroad, where it was presumed he would be forced to break caste restrictions and, as a result, become polluted. Such an offender would be reinstated upon completion of the proper observances, usually culminating in payment of a fine or giving a feast for caste brethren.

      To be permanently outcaste was more serious, as it deprived the offender both of a social or economic support group and of a marriage partner. Offspring of certain intercaste unions (traditionally the union of a Brahman mother and a Sūdra father) were considered outcastes. Outcastes might be adopted into an existing caste of low status or form a new caste. Because of their precarious economic position, outcastes frequently were forced to take on polluting jobs no one else wanted to do; thus they became not only outcastes but untouchables.

      Some tribal groups in and around India and all foreigners were automatically perceived as avarṇa (“casteless,” or “out of caste”).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Outcaste — may refer to: by extension, anything or anyone with a social stigma, due to criminal behavior or non acceptance of societal norms. Casteless people in India Dalit (modern self designation of untouchable people in India) Casteless people in Japan… …   Wikipedia

  • outcaste — [out′kast΄] n. in India, a person expelled from his or her caste, or one who belongs to no caste …   English World dictionary

  • outcaste — UK [ˈaʊtˌkɑːst] / US [ˈaʊtˌkæst] noun [countable] Word forms outcaste : singular outcaste plural outcastes in India, a person who does not belong to a Hindu caste (= a particular social class), or who has been forced to leave one …   English dictionary

  • outcaste — noun Date: 1876 1. one who has been ejected from a Hindu caste for violation of its customs or rules 2. one who has no caste …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • outcaste — 1. noun In Indian society, someone who does not belong to a caste. Syn: Dalit 2. verb To expel from a caste …   Wiktionary

  • outcaste — out|caste [ aut,kæst ] noun count in India, a person who does not belong to a Hindu CASTE (=a particular social class), or who has been forced to leave one …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • outcaste — aÊŠtkæst / kɑːst n. one who does not belong to a cast; one who has given up his cast (in India); Pariah (in India) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • outcaste — noun (in Hindu society) a person who has no caste or a person who is expelled from their caste. verb cause (someone) to lose their caste …   English new terms dictionary

  • outcaste — noun (C) someone who does not belong to or who has been forced out of a caste (=a traditional social class) in India …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • outcaste — out•caste [[t]ˈaʊtˌkæst, ˌkɑst[/t]] n. 1) raj (in India) a person who has left or been expelled from his or her caste 2) a person of no caste • Etymology: 1875 …   From formal English to slang


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.