\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

Transgender actors and advocates immediately criticized the production for not casting a trans actor in the role. CBS News, "Scarlett Johansson drops out of "Rub & Tug" amid backlash," 13 July 2018 Republicans are more likely to say ineligible voters casting ballots is a problem, while Democrats are more focused on issues with voting access. Hannah Fingerhut, The Christian Science Monitor, "Poll: Americans have relatively high confidence in Supreme Court," 10 July 2018 The seven roles being cast are as follows: Jean: 18 to 22 years old, male, any ethnicity. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Movie roles up for grabs as film company says 'action' in Louisville," 10 July 2018 Thompson cites directors like Annihilation's Alex Garland and Thor: Ragnarok's Taika Waititi for thinking about casting differently. Allison P. Davis, GQ, "The Bizarre Brilliance of Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson in Sorry to Bother You," 3 July 2018 When the project was announced on July 2, there was an immediate online backlash against the movie that cast Johansson, a cisgender woman, to play a transgender man. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "Scarlett Johansson Drops Out of 'Rub & Tug' Trans Film Following Backlash," 13 July 2018 Some people have argued that casting a non-transgender person to play a transgender part is offensive. Amanda Svachula, New York Times, "Scarlett Johansson Withdraws From Transgender Role After Backlash," 13 July 2018 Trans people and allies condemned the casting announcement across social media. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Scarlett Johansson won’t play a trans man after all.," 13 July 2018 Yvonne is distraught, casting ugly aspersions on Madeleine. Robert Abele,, "Review: Jean Cocteau's masterful 1948 'Les Parents Terribles' is a treat for movie lovers," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The cast also includes former NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson, Jordin Sparks and Andrew W. Walker. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, "'God Bless the Broken Road' Trailer: Military Widow Struggles to Keep Faith," 13 July 2018 The cast includes Chesterton, Crown Point, Dyer, Gary, Griffith, Hammond and Valparaiso residents. Jessi Virtusio, Post-Tribune, "Gary Shakespeare Company’s season includes 14 free performances of ‘Hamlet’," 12 July 2018 Viewers can look forward to the return of several fan favorites including Candace Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, Danica McKellar, and Kellie Martin, along with the cast of When Calls the Heart who will be featured in a new holiday movie. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Hallmark Extends ‘Countdown to Christmas’ Lineup to a Record 36 New Holiday Movies This Year," 11 July 2018 Instead, the mini cast-iron skillet was filled with the usual. Lauren Delgado,, "Garp & Fuss: Murky menu, lovely location," 6 July 2018 Place a large cast-iron skillet on the grates directly over the fire. Jim Shahin, charlotteobserver, "The best way to grill a burger keeps it off the grate," 6 July 2018 Punla says just the sound of the marinated meat sizzling on a cast-iron plate fills him with nostalgia. Jonathan Kauffman,, "Likha brings Michelin pedigrees to Filipino bar food," 5 July 2018 Heat a cast-iron skillet or similar surface over medium-low heat. Paula Forbes, GQ, "How to Cook Burgers from Scratch Without a Meat Grinder," 1 July 2018 Place a large cast-iron skillet on the grates directly over the fire. Jim Shahin,, "The best way to grill a burger keeps it off the grate," 26 June 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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Learn More about cast

Statistics for cast

Last Updated

17 Oct 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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