Quote from the "Learning Python":

"It consists of Python’s original creator — Guido van Rossum, the officially anointed Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL) of Python — plus a supporting cast of thousands."

1) Does author meant "caste of thousands"? If not, what is an exact meaning of this phrase?
2) Does cast = caste?

Thank you!

  • 2
    "cast, n.: 2(b)(1): the set of actors in a dramatic production, (2): a set of characters or persons" – apsillers Dec 11 '14 at 16:52

"And a cast of thousands" has become a set phrase/idiom. Originally a phrase used mainly in movie advertising it has (as many advertising phrases do) taken a life of its own, and it is often used in a figurative sense. (The phrase was in it heyday back in the epic movie era from the 30s through the 60s when movies like "Gone with the Wind" and "Cleopatra" were filmed, employing hundreds of "extras" in some scenes.)

You might, eg, say that you got moved into your new house with the assistance of Fred, Joe, "and a cast of thousands", to indicate that several other people participated (especially if it seemed at times as if there WERE thousands of people in the house, due to the number of people walking about and bumping into each other).


No, cast=/=caste. Cast as defined by OED:

The actors taking part in a play, movie, or other production

In this case the creation of Python would be the "other production," so the original sentence is referring to the thousands who helped create Python in some way.

If anybody wants to go into how cast has evolved to the point where it's applicable outside the context of theatrical productions, have at it.

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