Difference Between Cast and Caste

Cast vs Caste

The two words cast and caste refer to two wholly different words as there is a clear difference between their meanings. First, let us pay attention to the meaning of each word. A caste refers to a socially stratified group of people. In some societies, the caste system operates as a social stratification system. This stratification can be based on various aspects of the individual such as birth, occupation, wealth, etc. A group of people belonging to a single caste share a number of similarities in their lifestyle. On the contrary, the word cast has a number of meanings. This is used both a noun and a verb as well. As a noun, a cast can be a group of actors in a play. As a verb, it can denote throwing something. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two word, cast and caste.

What does Caste mean?

A caste, mostly referred to as a caste system can be understood as a social stratification based on specific features such as birth, rank, wealth, occupation, etc. According to this concept, people in the society are put into different castes based on their birth or wealth or any other specific feature. When speaking of the caste system, the Indian caste system can be considered as a classic example in comprehending this concept.

According to Haralambos, in the Hindu society, people are divided into five different strata. This includes four main castes and a fifth group. This fifth group is also known as the untouchables. According to the Indian society, they are the lowest group in the society. The untouchables are believed to be impure. Castes are usually ranked in accordance with ritual purity. The Brahmins are considered as the highest caste. They are symbolic of purity and holiness. The religious ceremonies were performed by the Brahmins only, as they were the epitome of knowledge, truth, wisdom and purity.

The caste system has a clear impact on the social relations of an individual. It determined the living conditions and overall behavior, freedom, and the amount of power that an individual had in the society. The members of a particular caste have a similar lifestyle, interests and identity. This notion of the caste system is not unique to India, but can be seen in a number of Asian countries, even though, the impact it has in the modern society is declining.

Difference Between Cast and Caste

Indian Caste System

What does Cast mean?

The word cast has a number of meanings. As a noun, cast refers to a group of actors in a movie or a play. However, as a verb it refers to the act of throwing. Look at the following examples.

The success of the movie depended greatly on the excellent performance of the cast.

He cast it into the water.

This word can also be used in other situations as well. Observe the following sentences.

She cast a look at him.

You have to cast your vote.

They are ready for casting.

Do you think they will cast him?

The old man cast a spell.

This highlights that the two words have to be viewed in two completely different lights and should not be confused as they bring about very different meanings.

 Cast vs Caste

The cast of the movie ‘Inception’

What is the difference between Cast and Caste?

• Definitions of Cast and Caste:

• A caste refers to a socially stratified group of people based on birth, wealth, occupation, rank, etc.

• As a noun, a cast can be a group of actors in a play. As a verb, it can denote throwing something.

• Part of Speech:

• The word caste is used as a noun.

• The word cast can be used both as a noun and a verb.

• Usage:

• Caste is a result of a stratification system.

• A cast merely refers to a group of actors in a play.

• The word cast as a verb can apply to various situations and generate different meanings.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Pyramid of Caste system in India by Kwj2772 Disc. kowiki. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Inception Cast by Nehrams2020 (CC BY-SA 2.0)