mid-13c., "a throw, an act of throwing," from cast (v.). In early use especially of dice, hence figurative uses relating to fortune or fate. Meaning "that which is cast" is from c.1550s. Meaning "dash or shade of color" is from c.1600. The sense of "a throw" carried an idea of "the form the thing takes after it has been thrown," which led to widespread and varied meanings, such as "group of actors in a play" (1630s). OED finds 42 distinct noun meaning and 83 verbal ones, with many sub-definitions. Many of the figurative senses converged in a general meaning "sort, kind, style" (mid-17c.). A cast in the eye (early 14c.) preserves the older verbal sense of "warp, turn."