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cast (kăst)
v. cast, cast·ing, casts
a. To throw (something, especially something light): The boy cast stones in the water.
b. To throw with force; hurl: waves that cast driftwood far up on the shore. See Synonyms at throw.
c. To throw or propel a lure or bait at the end of (a fishing line) into the water so as to catch fish or other aquatic life.
d. To throw (a net), as in fishing; cause to spread out.
e. To throw on the ground, as in wrestling.
f. To let fall; drop: cast anchor.
g. To roll or throw (dice, for example).
h. To draw (lots).
2. To shed; molt: The snake cast its skin.
3. To deposit or indicate (a ballot or vote).
4. To turn or direct: All eyes were cast upon the speaker.
a. To cause to fall onto or over something or in a certain direction: candles casting light; trees casting shadows.
b. To assert in relation to someone or something or cause to be associated: Don't let him cast aspersions on your character. The results cast doubt on our hypothesis.
6. To give birth to prematurely: The cow cast a calf.
7. To cause (hunting hounds) to scatter and circle in search of a lost scent.
a. To choose actors for (a play, for example).
b. To assign a certain role to (an actor): cast her as the lead.
c. To assign an actor to (a part): cast each role carefully.
a. To form (liquid metal, for example) into a particular shape by pouring into a mold.
b. To make (an object) by casting liquid metal.
10. To arrange or devise: cast the book in three parts; cast a plan.
11. To calculate or compute; add up (a column of figures).
12. To calculate astrologically: cast my horoscope.
13. To warp; twist: floorboards cast by age.
14. Nautical To turn (a ship); change to the opposite tack.
1. To throw something, especially to throw out a lure or bait at the end of a fishing line.
2. To add a column of figures; make calculations.
3. To receive form or shape in a mold: a material that casts well.
4. To become warped.
5. To search for a lost scent in hunting with hounds.
6. Nautical
a. To veer to leeward from a former course; fall off.
b. To put about; tack.
7. To choose actors for the parts in a play, movie, or other theatrical presentation.
a. The act or an instance of casting or throwing.
b. The act or an instance of throwing a fishing line or net into the water.
c. The line or net thrown.
d. The distance covered by a throw.
e. A throw of dice.
f. The number on dice facing up when thrown.
2. A stroke of fortune or fate; a lot.
a. Something, such as molted skin, that is thrown off, out, or away.
b. A piece of excrement produced by an earthworm.
a. A direction or expression of the eyes.
b. A slight squint.
5. The addition of a column of figures; calculation.
6. A conjecture; a forecast.
a. The act of pouring molten material into a mold.
b. The amount of molten material poured into a mold at a single operation.
c. Something formed by this means or in a mold or matrix: The sculpture was a bronze cast. They made a cast of her face.
8. A rigid dressing, usually made of gauze and plaster of Paris, used to immobilize an injured body part, as in a fracture or dislocation. Also called plaster cast.
9. The form in which something is made or constructed; arrangement: the close-set cast of her features.
10. Outward form or look; appearance: a suit of stylish cast.
11. Sort; type: fancied himself to be of a macho cast.
12. An inclination; tendency: her thoughtful cast of mind.
13. The actors in a play, movie, or other theatrical presentation.
14. A slight trace of color; a tinge.
15. A distortion of shape.
16. The circling of hounds to pick up a scent in hunting.
17. A pair of hawks released by a falconer at one time.
Phrasal Verbs:
cast about (or around)
1. To make a search; look: had to cast about for an hour, looking for a good campsite.
2. To devise means; contrive.
cast off
1. To discard; reject: cast off old clothing.
2. To let go; set loose: cast off a boat; cast off a line.
3. To make the last row of stitches in knitting.
4. Printing To estimate the space a manuscript will occupy when set into type.
cast on
To make the first row of stitches in knitting.
cast out
To drive out by force; expel.
cast (one's) lot with
To join or side with for better or worse.

[Middle English casten, from Old Norse kasta.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.