\ˈkast \
cast; casting

Definition of cast 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to move or send forth by throwing cast a fishing lure cast dice

b : direct cast a glance

c(1) : to put forth the fire casts a warm glow cast light on the subject cast a shadow

(2) : to place as if by throwing cast doubt on their reliability

d : to deposit (a ballot) formally cast her vote

e(1) : to throw off or away the horse cast a shoe

(2) : to get rid of : discard cast off all restraint soda cans and fast-food boxes cast aside on the beach

(3) : shed, molt cast feathers

(4) : to bring forth especially : to give birth to prematurely

f : to throw to the ground especially in wrestling The cow was cast and her legs tied.

g : to build by throwing up earth cast a mound

2a(1) : to perform arithmetical operations on : add

(2) : to calculate by means of astrology cast a person's horoscope

b archaic : decide, intend

3a : to dispose or arrange into parts or into a suitable form or order I shall cast what I have to say under two principal headsTatler

b(1) : to assign the parts of (a dramatic production) to actors cast a movie

(2) : to assign (someone, such as an actor) to a role or part was cast in the leading role

4a : to give a shape to (a substance) by pouring in liquid or plastic form into a mold and letting harden without pressure cast steel

b : to form by this process toys cast from plastic

5 : turn cast the scale slightly

6 : to make (a knot or stitch) by looping or catching up cast a square knot

7 : twist, warp a beam cast by age

8 : to transmit the sound and images of (something happening) in real time via the Internet The event is cast live over the Internet and broadcast later on National Public Radio's "Science Friday."— Lynn Teo Simarski The webinar will be cast live over Skype on a large screen at the church.— Cheril Vernon

intransitive verb

1 : to throw something specifically : to throw out a lure with a fishing rod

2 dialectal British : vomit

3 dialectal, England : to bear fruit : yield

4a : to perform addition

b obsolete : estimate, conjecture

5 : warp lumber casts

6 : to range over land in search of a trail used of hunting dogs or trackers

7 : veer

cast lots

: to draw lots to determine a matter by chance



Definition of cast (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act of casting

b : something that happens as a result of chance

c : a throw of dice a seven on the first cast

d : a throw of a line (such as a fishing line) or net a perfect cast

2a : the form in which a thing is constructed

b(1) : the set of actors in a dramatic production The show features an all-star cast.

(2) : a set of characters or persons in both great houses there is the usual cast of servants— Elizabeth Bowen

c : the arrangement of draperies in a painting

3 : the distance to which a thing can be thrown specifically : the distance a bow can shoot

4a : a turning of the eye in a particular direction also : expression this freakish, elfish cast came into the child's eye — Nathaniel Hawthorne

b : a slight strabismus

5 : something that is thrown or the quantity thrown especially, British : the leader of a fishing line

6a : something that is formed by casting in a mold or form: such as

(1) : a reproduction (as of a statue) in metal or plaster : casting

(2) : a fossil reproduction of the details of a natural object by mineral infiltration

b : an impression taken from an object with a liquid or plastic substance : mold They made a mask from a wax cast of her face.

c : a rigid casing (as of fiberglass or of gauze impregnated with plaster of paris) used for immobilizing a usually diseased or broken part has a cast on her broken arm

8a : an overspread of a color or modification of the appearance of a substance by a trace of some added hue : shade gray with a greenish cast

b : tinge, suggestion a cast of bitterness in his words— Walter O'Meara

9a : a ride on one's way in a vehicle : lift A motorist gave him a cast as far as the town.

b Scottish : help, assistance

10a : shape, appearance the delicate cast of her features

b : characteristic quality his father's conservative cast of mind

11 : something that is shed, ejected, or thrown out or off: such as

a : the excrement of an earthworm

b : a mass of soft matter formed in cavities of diseased organs and discharged from the body

c : the skin of an insect

12 : the ranging in search of a trail by a dog, hunting pack, or tracker The setter made a wide cast.

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Other Words from cast


castability \ˌkas-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
castable \ˈkas-​tə-​bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for cast


discard, cast, shed, slough, scrap, junk mean to get rid of. discard implies the letting go or throwing away of something that has become useless or superfluous though often not intrinsically valueless. discard old clothes cast, especially when used with off, away, or out, implies a forceful rejection or repudiation. cast off her friends shed and slough imply a throwing off of something both useless and encumbering and often suggest a consequent renewal of vitality or luster. shed a bad habit finally sloughed off the depression scrap and junk imply throwing away or breaking up as worthless in existent form. scrap all the old ways would junk our educational system

throw, cast, toss, fling, hurl, pitch, sling mean to cause to move swiftly through space by a propulsive movement or a propelling force. throw is general and interchangeable with the other terms but may specifically imply a distinctive motion with bent arm. can throw a fastball and a curve cast usually implies lightness in the thing thrown and sometimes a scattering. cast it to the winds toss suggests a light or careless or aimless throwing and may imply an upward motion. tossed the coat on the bed fling stresses a violent throwing. flung the ring back in his face hurl implies power as in throwing a massive weight. hurled himself at the intruder pitch suggests throwing carefully at a target. pitch horseshoes sling stresses either the use of whirling momentum in throwing or directness of aim. slung the bag over his shoulder

Examples of cast in a Sentence


Seaweed was cast up by the waves. The tree cast a long shadow on the lawn. How many votes were cast?


She has a cast on her arm. They made a mask from a wax cast of her face.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When the sun, Earth and the moon are aligned, Earth casts a shadow that projects out into the shape of an imaginary cone. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "Total lunar eclipse will turn the moon blood red later this month," 13 July 2018 After one of Uber’s cars struck and killed a pedestrian, various revelations have cast its self-driving operations — and its backup drivers — in a harsh light. Carolyn Said,, "Uber lays off 100 backup drivers in self-driving unit," 12 July 2018 Insanely grateful and proud of every associate producer, assistant, executive, production team member, casting, editors, show runners, and OG Fab Five for making it all possible. Sofia Mele, Billboard, "Nominated Celebrities React to 2018 Emmy Nominations: See the Tweets," 12 July 2018 Mark Acles, another Lafayette citizen, who grew up in a staunchly Republican home will cast his first Democrat vote in the 2018 election for Donnelly. Seth Slabaugh, Indianapolis Star, "Sen. Joe Donnelly needs to keep his pro-Trump voters. But can he?," 12 July 2018 As the sun set, electricity meters outside the houses cast an atmospheric green glow—the light of progress. The Economist, "Mini-grids could be a boon to poor people in Africa and Asia," 12 July 2018 The Theatre Arlington cast — all 18 and younger — brings Janell Cannon's story about a young bat who is raised in a nest with three baby sparrows to life using music, comedy and puppets. Sandy Guerra-cline, star-telegram, "River rockers, kid actors and peaches make the top 10 list of things to do in DFW," 11 July 2018 The list of famous middle children includes figures as diverse as Warren Buffett and Jennifer Lopez, but for the most part, middles are reliably cast in the culture as oddballs, outcasts, and misfits. Adam Sternbergh, The Cut, "The Extinction of the Middle Child," 11 July 2018 And yet, recent concern over Russia's manipulation of social networks in the run-up to the 2016 election may cast the relationship between the two companies in a new light. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Facebook Gave a Russian Internet Giant a Special Data Extension," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Based on a best-selling Rick Moody novel and directed by the legendary Ang Lee, The Ice Storm has a tremendous cast and contains one of the most memorable and mind-blowing scenes of the past several decades, involving Elijah Wood and electrocution. Vogue, "13 Movies You Totally Forgot Were Set on Thanksgiving," 22 Nov. 2018 And Rob Reiner’s 1987 film adaptation streamlined the story while keeping the quotable dialogue and adding a tremendous cast. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The Verge’s guide to tolerable family streaming entertainment," 21 Nov. 2018 Surprisingly funny plot knows its place in this high-octane game—and enjoys a stellar voice cast. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sunset Overdrive review: Ride the rails to kaboom-town (finally on PCs, too)," 17 Nov. 2018 This relies more on zombie jump-scares and a colorful cast of characters. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018 Its central diamond, a rare 39.75-carat, pear-shaped, rose cut stone with a pale blue cast, once belonged to England's King William II and Queen Mary II. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "Queen Maxima Wore a Jaw-Dropping Tiara to the State Dinner Hosted by Queen Elizabeth," 23 Oct. 2018 As a mixed woman and mother to our two biracial girls, I was moved by Black Panther and was elated to see a cast of black characters who were presented powerfully, beautifully, and mostly positively. Andrew Grant-thomas And Melissa Giraud, Good Housekeeping, "Parents: Maybe Don't Buy Your Kid That Black Panther Costume This Halloween," 11 Oct. 2018 The original formula appeared to have a slightly whiter cast than then newer one, which was a closer match to my warm, golden-toned skin. Sable Yong, Allure, "How Glossier’s New Perfecting Skin Tint Formula Compares to the Original," 11 Sep. 2018 In the Blue Light is produced by Simon and Roy Halee and will feature a cast of acclaimed musicians alongside Simon. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Paul Simon Revisits Earlier Songs for 'In the Blue Light' Album, Due in September," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cast.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cast


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cast


Middle English, from Old Norse kasta; akin to Old Norse kǫs heap

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Statistics for cast

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cast

The first known use of cast was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for cast



English Language Learners Definition of cast

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to throw or move (something) in a forceful way

: to throw (a fishing line, hook, etc.) into the water by using a fishing pole

: to send or direct (something) in the direction of someone or something



English Language Learners Definition of cast (Entry 2 of 2)

: the actors in a play, film, or television show

: a hard covering that is put on an arm, leg, etc., so that a broken bone can heal

: a container that is used to give its form or shape to something that is poured or pressed into it; also : an object that is made by using such a container


\ˈkast \
cast; casting

Kids Definition of cast

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : throw entry 1 sense 1 cast a stone cast a fishing line

2 : to direct to or toward something or someone cast a glance

3 : to send out or forward cast a shadow cast light

4 : to put under the influence of cast a spell The news cast gloom over the party.

5 : to throw out, off, or away : shed Snakes cast their skins.

6 : to make (a vote) formally

7 : to assign a part or role to I was cast as the hero in the play.

8 : to give shape to liquid material by pouring it into a mold and letting it harden The statue was cast in bronze.



Kids Definition of cast (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of throwing He caught a fish on his first cast.

2 : the characters or the people acting in a play or story

3 : a stiff dressing (as of plaster) hardened around a part of the body to allow a broken bone to heal I had a cast on my leg.

4 : a hint of color a bluish cast

5 : the container used to give a shape to the thing made in it

6 : something formed by casting in a mold or form a bronze cast of a statue

7 : the distance to which a thing can be thrown

8 : shape entry 2 sense 1 His face has a rugged cast.

9 : something (as the skin of an insect or the waste of an earthworm) that is shed or thrown out or off

\ˈkast \
cast; casting

Medical Definition of cast 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give a shape to (a substance) by pouring in liquid or plastic form into a mold and letting harden without pressure

2 : to form by casting



Medical Definition of cast (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a slight strabismus

2a : something that is formed by casting in a mold or form especially : an impression taken from an object by using a liquid or plastic substance

b : a rigid casing (as of fiberglass or of gauze impregnated with plaster of paris) used for immobilizing a usually diseased or broken part

3 : a mass of plastic matter formed in cavities of diseased organs (as the kidneys) and discharged from the body

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More from Merriam-Webster on cast

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cast

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cast

Spanish Central: Translation of cast

Nglish: Translation of cast for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cast for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cast

Comments on cast

What made you want to look up cast? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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