class (social class)

1. (noun) A stratified system of categorization based on a status such as wealth or power in which individuals have the potential for mobility.

2. (noun) A group and the individuals members of a group based on a shared status such as wealth or power.

Example: The working class (proletariat) or the intellectual class (literati).

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: classes
  • The terms class and social class are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • The precise definition of class and the amount of mobility in a class-based society is an oft debated and controversial topic.
  • In contrast to class, caste is another stratified system but one that does not permit individual mobility.
  • Also called socio-economic class.

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