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castaway

A castaway is someone who's stranded on shore, often after surviving a shipwreck. A sailor who swims to a small island after a terrible storm can call herself a castaway.

A castaway is more likely to be a character in a book than a real person, although occasionally a survivor has found him or herself washed up on an island. Some theories about what happened to the pilot Amelia Earhart after her disappearance include the idea that she was a castaway on some Pacific island. In the 15th century, a castaway was "one who is rejected." The deserted island survivor meaning came along in the late 1700s.

Choose your words

Caught between words? Learn how to make the right choice.

amuse/ bemuse

People often use the word bemuse when they mean amuse, but to amuse is to entertain, and to bemuse is to confuse. In Alice in Wonderland, the White Rabbit amuses Alice as he frolics, but then the Cheshire Cat bemuses her when he tells her to go two directions at once.
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objective/ subjective

Anything objective sticks to the facts, but anything subjective has feelings. Objective and subjective are opposites. Objective: It is raining. Subjective: I love the rain!
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didactic/ pedantic

Both words relate to teaching, but didactic teaches a lesson and pedantic just shows off the facts.
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pragmatic/ dogmatic

If you're pragmatic, you're practical. You're living in the real world, wearing comfortable shoes. If you're dogmatic, you follow the rules. You're living in the world you want, and acting a little stuck up about it. read more...

parody/ parity

They're different, but when these words are said out loud it's hard to tell them apart. A parody is a silly spoof and parity is equality, and that's no joke. read more...

introvert/ extrovert

These two personality types are opposites — introverts focus inward, into their own thoughts, and extroverts focus outward, into the world. But don't get too excited; most people are a little bit of both. read more...

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