There are 2 main definitions of cast in English:

Share this entry

cast 1

Pronunciation: /kɑːst/

verb (past and past participle cast)

[with object]
1 [usually with adverbial of direction] chiefly literary Throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction: he cast the book down on to the chair angrily the fishermen cast a large net around a school of tuna figurative individuals who do not accept the norms are cast out from the group
More example sentences
  • Our forebears were cast out from their homeland by the ruling class.
  • So just as prisoners are cast out of mainstream society, prisons exist largely out of mainstream public life.
  • While your heart may be set on the University of Michigan or Yale, cast your net wide.
1.1Throw the hooked and baited end of (a fishing line) out into the water.
Example sentences
  • Two men are sitting on the jetty, fixing bait to hooks and casting fishing-lines out into the water, chatting quietly in Spanish and sipping from bottles of Corona.
  • A mid-sized rig loomed in the distance, floating on the water with several fishing lines cast over the sides.
  • They were casting fishing lines into the water.
1.2Let down (an anchor or sounding line).
Example sentences
  • This captain of the ship decides to cast anchor after leaving Java because of a storm.
  • When the anchor was cast, he left the vessel with a purple face.
  • Other times, resupply stations are available for you to cast your anchor at for repairs.
2 [with adverbial of place] Cause (light or shadow) to appear on a surface: the moon cast a pale light over the cottages
More example sentences
  • During a solar eclipse the Moon moves across the Sun, blocking its light and casting a shadow onto the Earth.
  • The moon cast shadows of silver light, which lay in pools on the bedspread.
  • Its rays of light cast eerie shadows that danced on the wall and the ceiling.
emit, give off, send out, send forth, shed, radiate, diffuse, spread out
form, create, make, produce, cause;
project, throw
2.1 [with adverbial of direction] Direct (one’s eyes or a look) at something: she cast down her eyes [with two objects]: she cast him a desperate glance
More example sentences
  • Jeremy cast a desperate look over his shoulder - where were the cameras?
  • Judy narrowed her eyes, cast a critical look at the laughing woman standing next to a small, plump girl, and threw the picture in the box.
  • The doctor lowered his weapon as his eyes cast a cold look around the camp.
direct, shoot, turn, throw, send, dart, bestow, give
2.2Cause (uncertainty or disparagement) to be associated with something: journalists cast doubt on the government’s version of events
More example sentences
  • Research in Glasgow has cast doubt on the mental and physical tasks that police have been using for three years to try to crack down on what is feared to be an epidemic of drug driving.
  • But other nutrition experts cast doubt on whether fasting should be reintroduced as a weight-loss technique.
  • Some scientific experts cast doubt on the letter's authenticity.
3 [with adverbial of direction] Discard: he jumped in, casting caution to the wind
More example sentences
  • You don't know whether to cast caution to the wind and make an offer, or wait to see if something better comes along.
  • But when the last one ended, that anxiety was cast away.
  • And those that are intended to amuse oneself at the cost of others should definitely be cast away on the rubbish heap.
discard, reject, cast/throw away, cast/throw out, dispense with, get rid of, dispose of, abandon
3.1Shed (skin or horns) in the process of growth: the antlers are cast each year
More example sentences
  • Lice seen on chairs, pillows, and hats are dead, sick, or elderly or are cast skins of lice - these cannot infect a person.
  • A film of liquid develops between the two layers of skin, which later makes it easier for the animal to cast its skin.
  • The moose had started to cast their horns about Christmas time.
3.2(Of a horse) lose (a shoe).
Example sentences
  • Tied to his saddle is a sponge, for cooling him down, and a bag packed with hi - tech equine electrolytes, snacks and the horse equivalent of a spare tyre, a rubber boot in case he casts a shoe.
  • Under normal conditions, if a horse has cast a shoe, I can get out in a day or two and put it back on.
  • The pony had cast its shoe and must be shod before next day.
4Shape (metal or other material) by pouring it into a mould while molten: when hammered or cast, bronze could be made into tools
More example sentences
  • Brooches were made either by hammering a piece of metal into the right shape or by casting molten metal in a mould.
  • It casts molten silicon in moulds, just as metal components are cast.
  • Cast iron is very versatile, as it can be poured into moulds when molten and cast into complicated shapes, but is very brittle.
4.1Make (a moulded object) by casting metal: a bell was cast for the church
More example sentences
  • For nearly a century, the text to be printed was cast in hot metal, using monotype to set single characters or linotype to set text line by line.
  • In those days type was cast in hot metal on Linotype machines and if power was off, the metal went cold.
  • The Lord Lieutenant of East Yorkshire, Richard Marriott, travelled down to the foundry where the six bells have been cast to inspect them for himself.
4.2Arrange and present in a specified form or style: he issued statements cast in tones of reason
More example sentences
  • He has been cast in a certain way by his silence because he thought the right thing to do was to work with the police and not come on your show.
  • First, the rhetoric requires motherhood to be cast in unrealistically negative terms.
  • Will the resident antipathy towards America in other spheres be cast in the same style?
5Register (a vote): votes have been cast in 40 per cent of the seats
More example sentences
  • Postal votes can be cast any time until and including June 10, providing they are received by 10 pm at the address on the return envelope.
  • By lunchtime, across East Timor, four out of five of those who had registered had cast their votes.
  • A vast number of early votes and absentee votes have been cast.
register, record, enter, file, lodge, post, set down, vote;
allot, assign, give
6Cause (a magic spell) to take effect: the witch cast a spell on her to turn her into a beast figurative the city casts a spell on the visitor
More example sentences
  • A marriage certificate does not cast a magic spell of protection.
  • Her child, who would be born with the ability to wield magic, would not cast a single spell until certain conditions were met.
  • Without adequate meditation, she wouldn't have enough magic energy to cast a spell.
bewitch, enchant;
curse, jinx, witch;
North American  hex;
Australian  point the bone at
literary entrance
7Calculate and record details of (a horoscope): you can look at the star chart cast at somebody’s birth
More example sentences
  • As Nick himself puts it, if this is how one sees astrology ‘one may just as easily roll a set of astro-dice as go to the bother of casting a horoscope’.
  • At the end I asked her if I could cast her horoscope.
  • It contains the blank forms/charts and instructions on how to cast your own natal chart.
calculate, devise, compute, reckon, determine, assess, work out, formulate, record, write;
predict, forecast, foretell, foresee, prophesy
8 [no object, usually with adverbial of direction] (In country dancing) change one’s position by moving a certain number of places in a certain direction along the outside of the line in which one is dancing: cross the set and cast down one place
More example sentences
  • Come back up to where you started and cast round one couple to progress.
  • Then the boy and the girl would cast down and circle with the bottom couple.
  • Bottom couple dance together up the middle of the set, and cast out and down the outside back to places.
9 [no object] Hunting (Of a dog) search in different directions for a lost scent: the dog cast furiously for the vanished rabbit
More example sentences
  • He sat up and looked to where the dogs cast for his trail.
  • This gave the Field a chance to catch up while the hounds cast back and picked up the line without help from the Master.
  • Horses and men were standing all close together, while the hounds were casting for a scent.
9.1 [with object] Let loose (hounds) on a scent: casting the hounds into cover, we stood and listened
More example sentences
  • When the pack loses the scent, the huntsman will cast the hounds again.
  • The huntsman casts the hounds usually with the wind at his back.
  • Red-coated huntsmen drive and cast the dogs into promising spots with whoops and short blasts from a small fox horn.
10Immobilize (an animal, especially a cow) by using a rope to cause it to fall on its side.
Example sentences
  • Casting the cow and placing her in dorsal recumbency may greatly facilitate extension of the fetal head.
  • If that had not worked we would have used ropes to cast the cow.
  • Small animals may be cast by placing a lark's head hitch around the thorax and abdomen.


1An object made by shaping molten metal or similar material in a mould: bronze casts of the sculpture
More example sentences
  • Previously, like Rodin and his followers, Brancusi had modelled his sculptures in clay or plaster and then made bronze casts.
  • Sonja Landweer is exhibiting a series of bronze casts taken from ceramic moulds.
  • They're everywhere; his signature, their presence captured in Snowdon's great 1988 photograph and in those ubiquitous casts in plaster and bronze.
1.1 (also plaster cast) A mould used to make an object by casting: the artist’s casts and moulds became the property of the museum
More example sentences
  • The models began life sculpted in clay, before a plaster cast was used to mould the final version in glass fibre, with the knight and the totem pole finished to look like bronze, the helmet in iron.
  • When Elgin first went to Athens, his intention was simply to make a plaster cast of the sculptures.
  • It is such a gratifying and easy task to chat about life and times using literary works as a basis, just as it is more gratifying and easier to copy from a plaster cast than to draw a living body.
mould, die, form, matrix, shape, casting, template, pattern, frame;
sculpture, model, replica, copy, representation, mock-up, imitation, reproduction, figure
1.2 (also plaster cast) A bandage stiffened with plaster of Paris, moulded to the shape of a limb that is broken and used to support and protect it: I had to spend a month in a cast
More example sentences
  • Why aren't some types of broken bones put in casts right away?
  • Some members of this profession specialize in a narrow range of conditions, for example, bonesetters, who make casts and medicines for broken limbs.
  • Joshua, who is encased from hip to neck in a plaster cast to protect his weak bones, had a huge smile on his face throughout
2An act of throwing something forcefully: he grabbed a spear for a third cast
More example sentences
  • His arm goes back for a mighty cast of the lance.
2.1 Fishing A throw of a fishing line: I swung the rod out for a cast
More example sentences
  • First cast, the fly landed lightly, then drifted downstream for about three yards.
  • After a few hopeful short casts, I punched out as far as possible, to the deeper channel, about twenty yards off the sandbar.
  • In the next four casts, I had four more pike averaging some six pounds.
2.2British The leader of a fishing line.
2.3 archaic A throw or a number thrown at dice: 'tis no winning cast
More example sentences
  • When they have lost all their money they will play for their houses, their land, and their wives even, whose destiny often depends on a cast of the dice.
  • His own fault he hides, as a cheat hides an unlucky cast of the die.
  • Players use the dice to score points without losing all their chips but a single strategic play of a card or lucky cast of the dice can turn the game around.
3 [in singular, with adjective or noun modifier] The form or appearance of something, especially someone’s features or complexion: she had a somewhat masculine cast of countenance the colours he wore emphasized the olive cast of his skin
More example sentences
  • He has a Slavic cast of feature, which he acknowledges helps him to adopt a cloak of invisibility.
  • She paused to look at him, and noticed something strange, an odd cast to his features.
  • He was eerily calm all of a sudden, but had a sinister cast to his features as he smirked.
3.1The character of something: this question is for minds of a more philosophical cast than mine
More example sentences
  • This leads to a confusion about the philosophical cast of mind of most people who vote Democrat.
  • Only die-hards or those of a philosophical cast of mind fail to see the futility of that.
  • While much of the information Patterson covers is not new ground, there is a decidedly different cast to her research.
type, sort, kind, variety, class, style, stamp, nature, manner, pattern, grain, mould, ilk, kidney, strain, brand, genre;
turn, inclination, bent
4A slight squint: he had a cast in one eye
More example sentences
  • He wore glasses to correct a slight cast and would never use one word where a novel would do.
  • She was short, with heavy thighs, bad legs, and a cast in one eye.
  • The man spoke with a slushy, unfamiliar accent; his nose was splayed to the left and he had a cast in his right eye.
British informal boss-eye
technical strabismus
5 short for worm cast.
Example sentences
  • This is the yellow-faced blenny, often found in old tubeworm casts and even discarded shells.
  • There is one exception to this behaviour, and that is the specialised hermit crab Parugrita, which uses a crack in the reef or a discarded tubeworm cast as a home.
  • The bacterial population of a cast is much greater than the bacterial population of either ingested soil, or the earthworm's gut.
7 Hunting A wide search made by a hound or pack of hounds to find a trail.
Example sentences
  • It is always great impertinence in a huntsman to pretend to make a cast himself, before the hounds have made theirs.
7.1Australian /NZ A wide sweep made by a sheepdog in mustering sheep.
8 rare A pair or group of hawks or falcons: he gave one thousand pounds for a cast of hawks
More example sentences
  • A cast of hawks, so low I could touch their wings, fly around me.
  • In nature, Professor Daniels says, "crows would definitely, through teamwork and working together, shoo off a cast of hawks".
  • He had a cast of hawks himself, and expected Lord Orford's falconer on the next morning with a cast and a half more.



be cast in a —— mould

(Of a person) be of the type specified: he was cast in a cautious mould
More example sentences
  • He might have been cast in the mould of Baudelaire and Mallarmé, but it was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who was Finlay's real leading light.
  • In this respect, he was cast in a similar mould to Leonardo da Vinci.
  • From cradle to grave one is cast in the mould of fascismo and there can be no escape.

cast one's bread upon the waters

see bread.

cast one's eyes over

Have a quick appraising look at: he was invited to cast his eyes over the exhibition
More example sentences
  • Representatives from local hockey clubs have been invited to attend to cast their eyes over the eight teams taking part.
  • The store's turmoil has led to a number of potential buyers casting their eyes over the company.
  • Huddles of people jostled around display boards to cast their eyes over proposals including raising the old railway bridge and building a new footbridge over the canal, allowing boats to travel its length.

cast light on

see light1.

cast lots

see lot.

cast one's mind back

Think back to a particular event or time: he cast his mind back to the fatal evening
More example sentences
  • I am sure that if the letter writer casts their mind back to their teenage years, they did not become a devil at 13 and an angel at 19.
  • Maeve casts her mind back to the night Frances was crowned the Rose of Sligo and speaks with pride of her youngest daughter.
  • I was casting my mind back to that day when I wrote 4,000 words plus, at the end of which my brain had turned to sludge.

cast the (or one's) net

Search for suitable options or candidates in a specified way: Martin vowed he would cast the net far and wide in the search for the best person he is prepared to cast his net wide to find workable solutions
More example sentences
  • The trick is to know where to cast the net.
  • With fewer girls in Mae Sai leaving for the bright lights of Bangkok, agents have cast their nets wider.
  • Detective Inspector Pete Martin said: "We have to cast our net over a huge area".

Phrasal verbs


cast about (or around or round)

Search far and wide (physically or mentally): he is restlessly casting about for novelties
More example sentences
  • I know it is completely unrealistic, because formally I am not searching, I cast about with my eyes.
  • A biographer in search of a subject must usually cast about among people who have achieved something.
  • And, if one casts around the world today, one notices the two powers with the worst prospects are the ones most advanced in their post-religiosity.

be cast away

Be stranded after a shipwreck: he returned home three years after being cast away on the island
More example sentences
  • Guests on the programme select the luxury item they would need to make their lives a little easier if they were cast away.
  • Every year a school class picked at random will be cast away on an abandoned island to fight it out amongst themselves.
  • If you are going to be cast away, Robinson Crusoe island is a good place to be.
shipwreck, wreck;
strand, leave stranded, maroon, cast ashore, abandon, leave behind, leave
informal leave high and dry
archaic forsake

be cast down

Feel depressed: she was greatly cast down by abusive criticism of her novels
More example sentences
  • The joyful ones also tend to draw more friends, who would rather bathe in the sunshine of happiness than to be cast down into a gloomy depression.
  • Take advantage of opportunities, don't be cast down, but rise to the challenge if it does occur
  • Far from being cast down by the goal, England concentrated on reaching half-time without falling further behind before switching to the attack with renewed vigour.

cast off (or cast something off)

1 Knitting Take the stitches off the needle by looping each over the next to finish the edge: when the piece of knitting is long enough, cast off cast off a few stitches at the armhole
More example sentences
  • Or perhaps a hand-knitted sweater that looks like granny just cast it off her knitting needles for her favourite grandson?
  • It's a bit nerve-wracking, because you can really see the frill until after the neck edge is cast off.
  • Somewhere over the Atlantic on Thursday night, I cast off the last stitch.
2Set a boat or ship free from her moorings: the boatmen cast off and rowed downriver
More example sentences
  • As the last lines were cast off the ship edged away from the wharf.
  • The ship gave a sudden lurch as the lines were cast off, and began sliding away from the dock in such a way that it seemed the dock itself was receding from them.
  • By the time that safety was reached Fitz had picked up the shivering victim, cast off the mooring lines and was motoring out of the marina.
2.1 (cast off) (Of a boat or ship) be set free from her moorings: the ferry cast off and made a beeline for the pier
More example sentences
  • He had come to this conclusion about five minutes into his journey, just after the ship had cast off from the dock.
  • It's anchors away as the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry service casts off for its yearly service across the Wyre estuary.
  • At the otherwise silent hotel, I am woken at 6.30 am by the screech of gulls as the mackerel boats cast off from the harbour and head out on the early-morning tide.
4 Printing Estimate the space that will be taken in print by manuscript copy.
Example sentences
  • The master printer would decide whether the text would be set into type by a single compositor or by a number working simultaneously, in which case the copy would have to be cast off.

cast someone off

Exclude someone from a relationship: you told me your family had cast you off
More example sentences
  • We haven't heard the last of him, and I can't see how Byers can cast him off now.
  • Mr Peggotty sets out to find her, following her through many countries, and finally recovering her after she has been cast off by Steerforth.
  • His lover makes him wear a long blonde wig, and cruelly casts him off when he's dressed as a man.

cast on (or cast something on)

Knitting Make the first row of a specified number of loops on the needle: cast on and knit a few rows of stocking stitch cast on 14 stitches
More example sentences
  • Using 2 needles, cast on 98(110:134:146:158:170) stitches.
  • Cast on 52 stitches at end of next row to complete armhole shaping.
  • I'm doing the socks on 6 ply yarns so I only have to follow the pattern and cast on 64 stitches.

cast something up

1(Of the sea) deposit something on the shore: she would collect objects cast up by the tides
More example sentences
  • December storms had beaten her to and fro and at last the sea had cast her up onto the shingle.
  • There is a sense that the coral looked better where it used to be, either living or cast up as a skeleton on a coral beach somewhere.
  • One evening, sitting on an upturned boat cast up by the tide, I watched four old women shout derision at a carful of expensive-looking twenty-somethings.
2 dated Add up figures: he could cast up intricate accounts in his head
More example sentences
  • I now began to cast up my accounts.


Middle English: from Old Norse kasta 'to cast or throw'.

Words that rhyme with cast

aghast, avast, Belfast, blast, caste, contrast, fast, last, mast, miscast, outlast, past, unsurpassed, vast
Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of cast in English:

Share this entry

cast 2

Pronunciation: /kɑːst/


[treated as singular or plural]
The actors taking part in a play, film, or other production: he draws sensitive performances from his inexperienced cast
More example sentences
  • Many of the film's cast are not professional actors but people who live in the conditions portrayed.
  • But, because of the efforts of the crew and every one of those actors in the cast, the film was completed.
  • As an international co-production, the film also heavily features American actors in the cast.

verb (past and past participle cast)

[with object]
1Assign a part in a play or film to (an actor): he was cast as a young knight in her lavish historical epic
More example sentences
  • Actors are cast as virtual crew members in prerecorded scenarios that astronauts then use when problems arise.
  • Actors are cast as versions of themselves and then left to the mercy of different teams of writers and directors.
  • Another choice Bergman made was to cast non-professional actors in the leads.
choose, select, pick, name, nominate, assign, appoint, give/assign the part to
1.1Allocate parts in (a play or film): assembling a great baseball team is as tricky as casting a play
More example sentences
  • After he cast the film, we all met at his house for a preliminary discussion, after which he went to Sweden for five days and wrote the script.
  • ‘Once we cast the film, we spent a lot of time with the actors,’ he explains.
  • The producer works with the writer, casts the film, and supervises the editing.


Mid 17th century: a special use of cast1 in cast1 (sense 4 of the verb).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.