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Cast vs. Caste: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 7, 2024
Cast means to throw something or to shape material in a mold, while caste refers to a traditional social class or system in some societies, particularly in South Asia.

Key Differences

Cast is a verb meaning to throw something forcefully or to shape material, like metal or plastic, in a mold. Caste, a noun, refers to a hereditary social class in certain cultures, particularly in the Indian subcontinent, where it determines social status and occupation.
In the arts, cast refers to the group of actors performing in a play or film. Caste systems, on the other hand, are based on rigid social stratification and are often linked with specific occupations, social duties, and hierarchical status.
Cast can also mean to shed or discard something, like a snake casting off its skin. In contrast, a caste system is characterized by its enduring nature, often remaining unchanged over generations and being integral to cultural identity.
The process of casting in manufacturing involves pouring liquid material into a mold to achieve a desired shape. In a caste system, social mobility is extremely limited, with roles and statuses largely fixed from birth.
Cast as a noun can refer to the object made in the casting process or to the act of throwing. Caste, as a social system, often involves complex rules about marriage, social interaction, and community roles.

Comparison Chart


To throw or shape in a mold
A hereditary social class


Manufacturing, arts, discarding
Social hierarchy, particularly in South Asia

Usage as a Part of Speech

Verb and noun

Implication in Society

Part of a process or group
Rigid social stratification

Mobility and Change

Dynamic, variable process or action
Static, hereditary, and enduring

Cast and Caste Definitions


The act of throwing a fishing line.
With a skillful cast, he caught a large trout.


A rigid class structure based on birth.
She wrote a thesis on the impact of the caste system in modern India.


To shape material in a mold.
The sculpture was made by casting bronze.


A division in society based on occupation and family lineage.
In some regions, caste determines one's profession.


A group of actors in a play or movie.
The cast of the play received a standing ovation.


A social system dividing society into classes.
The caste system has been a subject of significant debate.


To shed or discard.
The snake cast its skin as it grew.


A hereditary social class in Hindu society.
His family belonged to an upper caste.


To throw something forcefully.
He cast the fishing line into the lake.


A traditional class system influencing marriage and social interactions.
Inter-caste marriages were traditionally discouraged.


To throw (something, especially something light)
The boy cast stones in the water.


Any of the hereditary, endogamous social classes or subclasses of traditional Hindu society, stratified according to Hindu ritual purity, especially the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra castes.


To throw with force; hurl
Waves that cast driftwood far up on the shore.


A social class separated from others by distinctions of hereditary rank, profession, or wealth.


Is the caste system still prevalent?

While legally abolished in many places, the caste system still influences social dynamics in some regions.

What is casting in the context of manufacturing?

It's a process where liquid material is poured into a mold and allowed to solidify.

How does caste affect social status?

Caste can significantly influence one's social status, occupation, and marriage in societies where it is practiced.

What does it mean to cast in fishing?

It refers to throwing a fishing line or net into the water.

What is a body cast?

A body cast is a rigid support used to immobilize and protect a part of the body that's healing.

Are there different types of castes?

Yes, traditionally there are several castes and sub-castes, especially in Hindu society.

How is caste determined?

Caste is typically determined by birth and family lineage.

What is a plaster cast?

It's a bandage soaked in plaster used to create a firm mold around a broken bone.

Can the term cast be used in medical contexts?

Yes, a cast can refer to a protective shell encasing a broken limb.

Can the word cast refer to a shadow?

Yes, it can mean to throw a shadow or light on something.

Are caste systems unique to India?

While most prominent in India, caste-like systems exist in other cultures as well.

Can people change their caste?

Traditionally, caste is hereditary and unchangeable, although modern societal changes have challenged this.

What does it mean to cast a vote?

It means to vote or to submit a ballot in an election.

Can cast be used in cooking?

Yes, as in casting ingredients into a mix, though this usage is less common.

Do castes exist in religions other than Hinduism?

Yes, caste-like structures can be found in other religions and cultures, though they may not be as rigid or extensive.

What does it mean to cast doubt?

It means to express uncertainty or skepticism about something.

Is the caste system legal?

It's legally abolished in many countries, but it may still exist in social practices.

Can one's caste change over their lifetime?

Traditionally, no, but modern societal changes and intermarriage have blurred these lines in some cases.

Does caste affect education and employment?

In some societies, caste can influence educational and employment opportunities.

Is a cast list the same as a cast in a play?

The cast list refers to the roster of actors, while the cast refers to the actors themselves.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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