Caste

(1 syl.), race. The Portuguese casta. In Sanskrit the word used for the same purpose is varna (colour). The four Hindu castes are Brahmins (the sacred order), Shatriya (soldiers and rulers), Vaisy'a (husbandmen and merchants), Sudra (agricultural labourers and mechanics). The first issued from the mouth of Brahma, the second from his arms, the third from his thighs, and the fourth from his feet. Below these come thirty-six inferior classes, to whom the Vedas are sealed, and who are held cursed in this world and without hope in the next. The Jews seem to have entertained the same notion respecting the common people, and hence the Sanhedrim say to the officers, “This people; who know not the law, are cursed.” (John vii. 49.)

To lose caste.
To lose position in society. To get degraded from one caste to an inferior one.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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