[countable + singular or plural verb] a group of people who share the same religion, race, job, etc. - Oxford

a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc. - MW

And so on...

So, examples -

A group of people having the same interest - ELL community (the same interest - learning English)
A group of people having the same religion - Christian community
A group of people having the same race - Brits (an island race)

But here comes an issue. In India, we have the main religion further dividing in castes

Hindus are further divided in several castes like Brahmin, Patidar, and so on

Now, when I build an online directory that helps connect a Brahmin to Brahmin and a Patidar to a Patidar, what do I call it?

A community directory?

That looks the commonest one. But then, it creates an ambiguity for the word 'community' because when it is on the Internet, mostly, the word 'community' attracts people with the same interest and NOT the same caste.

A race/ethnicity/religious directory?

All look 'odd'.

What about...

A caste directory?

But then, I'm addressing to the global audience (that's why I'm asking it here. Because the term 'caste' is quite Indian, and here, everyone understands 'caste').

My question:

I need a word alternative to 'community' which limits a group of people having the same caste and nothing else.

  • 1
    sect is the word that comes closest to what you want. A sect is a subgroup of a religious, political or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger religious group. - Wikipedia
    – Mamta D
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 9:00
  • This is indeed a good choice @MamtaD :)
    – Maulik V
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 9:52

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, you cannot speak to a global audience about "castes". In the US, the concept is unheard-of. We Americans fancy ourselves "classless", although it is clear there is still a great racial divide, and a growing economic divide. I would suggest you maintain separate pages, one which your Indian audience could select where you employ a "caste directory" and another page for other audidnces to whom caste is an alien concept, where the "directory" migh be named according to other criteria.

Ideally, anyone could optionally enter a "caste", and could then locate and list people who self-identified as the same caste; while others might self-identify by religion, age, education, hobbies, or whatever other personal data you wish to collect, and could sort/select their "directories" accordingly, without regard to caste. If you did this, you woulcn't need separate pages; it would be clear to Americans, for instance, that "caste" should be left blank. Separate pages would help, however, if you want to completely hide the "caste" item from all except those who choose the "India" page.

So it becomes more a question of UI design and localization (and perhaps database and query design) than of English usage.

  • +1 I liked having different pages for different audiences. But then, I want to name it. 'X' Directory. Now, what's 'x' there! :( that's the question.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 10:22
  • I'd still call it a caste directory, since anyone to whom it's relevant will understand the word. From a technical point of view, I'd have the form field hidden unless the user selects 'Indian' as their ethnic origin, and then either enter 'not applicable' in the DB field for non-Indians or have caste in a separate table with a joining table - but that's SQL, not English.
    – ssav
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 10:59

Caste is the English word for this concept, and as your link demonstrates, it has uses other than the Indian one. The only other word I can think of is 'class' but this really isn't the same thing. While I can't speak for other countries, in the UK the word caste is fairly well known.

I would stick with 'caste directory' as the only English phrase that accurately describes what you mean.

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