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1. Literally, of a ship or sailors, to float on a body of water without control or anchorage. The team was cast adrift in the Atlantic for 17 days before a rescue party found them.
2. To be let go, freed, or lost. Likened to a ship that drifts without an anchor or moorings to a dock. When I arrived in the country, I found myself cast adrift in a city I didn't know, among people whose language I couldn't speak. With my inheritance money, I was cast adrift to pursue whatever life I fancied.
be cut adrift
To be detached or cut off from something. Likened to a boat having its mooring cut so that it drifts freely in the water. She was cut adrift after her parents found drugs in her room and kicked her out of the house.
To abandon or set free. Likened to a boat having its mooring cut so that it drifts freely in the water. I think it's about time that we cut adrift the extremists of the party.
Also, cast adrift. Let go, freed, as in After Rob was suspended from boarding school, he was cast loose with nowhere to go, or Selling her home meant she was cast adrift with no financial ties or responsibilities. Originally a nautical term for releasing a vessel, this idiom was being used figuratively by the late 1500s.
Separated or detached; freed. For example, The dissenters were cut adrift from the denomination. This expression alludes to cutting the rope of a floating vessel so that it drifts without direction or purpose. The figurative use of adrift dates from the late 1600s.