late 14c., casuel, "subject to or produced by chance," from Old French casuel (15c.), from Late Latin casualis "by chance," from Latin casus "chance, occasion, opportunity; accident, event" (see case (n.1)).
Of persons, in the sense of "not to be depended on, unmethodical," it is attested from 1883 (from the notion of "without regularity," hence "uncertain, unpredictable"); meaning "showing lack of interest" is from 1916. Of clothes, "informal," from 1891. Related: Casually.
word-forming element denoting action, quality, or state, attached to an adjective or past participle to form an abstract noun, from Old English -nes(s), from Proto-Germanic *in-assu- (cognates: Old Saxon -nissi, Middle Dutch -nisse, Dutch -nis, Old High German -nissa, German -nis, Gothic -inassus), from *-in-, originally belonging to the noun stem, + *-assu-, abstract noun suffix, probably from the same root as Latin -tudo (see -tude).