cast off

(redirected from Casting off)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

cast off

1. verb To leave the dock, as of a ship and its crew. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cast" and "off." We won't be staying here for long—we cast off again at sunrise.
2. verb To remove, dispose of, or shed something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cast" and "off." Once you become a parent, you might decide to delegate more of your tasks—or cast off the title of CEO entirely. Mom told me I have to cast some things off before I'm allowed to add any more clothes to my closet. To attempt that daring jump on your bike, you'll need to cast off your fears.
3. verb To approximate how much space a manuscript will fill once typeset. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cast" and "off." You'll get a better idea of your novel's length in print once the publisher casts it off.
4. verb To remove the last row of stitches from the needle and complete the edge of a knitting project. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cast" and "off." Now that the blanket is long enough, the next step is to cast off.
5. verb To reject or renounce someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cast" and "off." The new dictator immediately cast off everyone in the government, replacing them with his personal supporters. Can you believe her boyfriend just cast her off like that, via text?
6. noun Someone or something that has been ignored, overlooked, or rejected. In this usage, the phrase is often hyphenated. Of course you're still my best friend, not some cast-off! I just haven't had time to call you this week, that's all. Once you sort through your closet, give me any cast-offs, and I'll sell them at the yard sale.
7. noun An approximation of how much space a manuscript will fill once typeset. In this usage, the phrase can be written as one word ("castoff"). A castoff will give you a better idea of your novel's length in print.
See also: cast, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cast off (from something)

[for the crew of a boat or ship] to push away from the dock or pier; to begin the process of navigating a boat or ship. The crew cast off from the dock. It's time to cast off.
See also: cast, off
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cast off

1. Discard, reject, as in He cast off his clothes and jumped in the pool. This term was already used figuratively in Miles Coverdale's translation of the Bible (1535): "Thy mother ... that hath cast off her housebonds and her children" (Ezekiel 16:45).
2. Let go, set loose, as in He cast off the line and the boat drifted from the dock. [Second half of 1600s]
3. In knitting, to finish the last row of stitches, that is, take the stitches off the needle and form a selvage. For example, Your sweater is finished; I just have to cast off. [Late 1800s] Also see cast on, def. 1.
See also: cast, off
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cast off

v.
1. To discard or reject something: Each year the principal would cast off her role as disciplinarian and perform in the school play. The load was too heavy, so we cast it off and left it behind.
2. To let something go; set something loose: I cast off the bow line and let the boat drift in the current. The crew grabbed the lines and cast them off as the captain started the engines. The crew remained on the boat, ready to cast off at the first sign of trouble.
3. To estimate the space some manuscript will occupy when set into type: The publisher cast off the manuscript to see how long the book would be. We cast each chapter off separately in order to save time.
4. Chiefly British To secure some number of stitches in knitting and form an edge by lifting one stitch over the next: When the scarf was the correct length, I cast off. Cast off 12 stitches on the next row to make the neck edge. Make 5 stitches on the next row and cast them off.
See also: cast, off
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
To me, it's like finding 'the pearl of great price'--by casting off all falseness and embracing humility, I learn to become myself and love my neighbour.
Beginners can learn basic knitting techniques, such as casting on and casting off; wrap and turn; slip, slip, knit; and pass slip stitch ever knit stitch.
1952: The 1,320-ton motorship Kilkenny caught fire as she was casting off from the north quay of Dublin headed for Liverpool carrying livestock and general cargo.
Writes Joanna: "Several speakers alluded to Mary's assumption of the full stole of priestly office as a casting off of the veil of Taliban-like confinement imposed on Catholic women by the Vatican" (CNT, p.10).
David strode across the private estate wearing just his underpants and a checked golfing cap, after casting off his clothes in the baking heat.
Such individuals, who often appeared as heroes in the folklore and songs of blacks and who inspired outrage and fear among whites, not only suggested the degree to which New Negroes were casting off the vestiges and demeanor of enslavement, but also their inability to contain their pent-up anger, frustration, disillusionment, and restlessness.