Don’t cast off phrasal verbs – Tim Bowen’s here to help.

‘The presenter seemed to be rather unsure of his topic and there were times when he was casting around for something to say’. In this context, cast around means to look for something or try to think of something, especially when you feel pressure to do so. 

If something is cast aside, it is abandoned or got rid of, as in ‘Many of the qualities of these ancient cultures are being cast aside in the interests of economic development’. 

If you cast your mind back to something, you think about something that happened in the past, as in ‘Try to cast your mind back to that last conversation you had with her’. 

To be cast down, in the sense of being very unhappy, is rarely used now but the adjectival form downcast can be found, as in ‘She left the interview looking extremely downcast’. 

The phrasal verb cast off can mean to get rid of something that you no longer want or need, as in ‘It took many years for Chicago to cast off its reputation as the home of violent gangsters’ or ‘The company has worked hard to cast off its negative image’. It can also be used in the context of sailing to mean to untie the rope that attaches a boat to its mooring, as in ‘Why am I always given the job of casting off?’ 

The noun form cast-off is usually used in the plural to mean clothes that you no longer want and give to someone else, as in ‘I’m not going to be seen wandering around in someone else’s cast-offs’.