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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1955; see Rastafarian. From 1962 as a noun. Related: Rastaman.


n. belonging to an originally Jamaican sect regarding Blacks as chosen people, and the Jamaican national colors and the leaf of the marijuana plant as symbols


Rasta may refer to:

  • Rastafari movement, or a follower of that movement
  • Rasta (Congo), warlords from the Second Congo War
  • Rasta (Mandaeism) a white religious garment of the Mandaean sect
  • Lester Speight, Lester "Rasta" Speight, African American football player, wrestler and actor who appeared in My Wife and Kids
  • Baby Rasta & Gringo, a Puerto Rican reggaeton duo
  • Stig Rästa (born 1980), Estonian musician
  • Стефан Ђурић, Stefan "Rasta" Đurić is a Serbian reggae singer and musician.
Rasta (Mandaeism)

"Every Mandaean must own a simple white ceremonial garment, called a rasta. It must be worn during most baptismal rites, religious ceremonies, and during periods of uncleanliness. It signifies the purity of the world of light. The rasta is worn equally by the laypersons and the priests. If a Mandaean dies in clothes other than a rasta, it is believed that they will not reenter the "World of Light"," unless the rite "Ahaba d Mania" ('Giving of Garments') be performed "for those who have died not wearing the ritual garment."

The rasta is expected to be transmuted after death into a "garment of glory" for the soul ("the Perfecter of Souls ... will come out toward you and clothe your soul in a garment of radiance") – this is equivalent to the perispirit.

A Mandaic hymn states : "I became a garment to the worlds of Light ... As for the chosen righteous, who put me on (as a garment), their eyes were filled with Light."

Usage examples of "rasta".

From where she was standing, Peta could hear her Rasta friend Jimmy and his buddies playing soca on the steel drums that lined the fringes of Tanteen Park, which lay directly below her.

Below her, the Rasta who lived behind Bronze House tucked his dreadlocks into his turban and strode into the Caribbean for his morning bath.

She took her pendant out of her safe-deposit box, pocketed it, and headed toward Morne Rouge and her Rasta friend, Ralphie Levine.

A mop-headed Rasta groupie with a tubular stoned look watched, and a coyote with a kelp mane howled with his head thrown back.

Peta could hear her Rasta friend Jimmy and his buddies playing soca on the steel drums that lined the fringes of Tanteen Park, which lay directly below her.

With his dreads and his moccasins, he looked every inch the Rasta dealer.

Jasper the Rasta was bad enough, he had been hanging with him for a while now but, coupled with the Williams boys, it was a catastrophe of fucking Olympian proportions.

On certain days, he took it upon himself to wear the Rasta colours and, like a walking flag of Ethiopia, he would wander around Brixton market like a king.

He was a poster boy Rasta and his own authenticity was what had alerted Spider to the fact he was a fake.

Not the big man with the rasta do, but the slender green-clad fairy he had glimpsed last evening on the porch of Skinny House.

And there, two strides away, was a grown black man in a rasta do, just like Mack described him.

I mean, if a regular-looking homeless person with a rasta do can be a fairy.

Tank Top took me and the Rasta youth upstairs to a grotty corridor, and the strip search began.

If that was the case, then the Rasta youth had a prayer shawl and a Torah for Central to deal with.

Marlowe had hardly met the old rasta, but even he could feel a sense of outrage.