400 Must Have Words for the TOEFL » LESSON 14 - Anthropology

Word List
  • assimilate [əˈsɪməˌleɪt] v.
    To consume and incorporate; to become similar
    Not all of the overseas students could assimilate into the rigidly controlled school.
    Usage tips     Assimilate is often followed by into.
    Parts of speech     assimilation n.
  • cremation [krəˈmeɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    The act of burning the dead
    Cremation is particularly common in Japan, where land for burial is very limited.
    Parts of speech     cremate v.
  • domesticate [dəˈmestɪkeɪt] v.
    To make something suitable for being in a home
    The Barnes family hoped to domesticate the tiger, but their neighbors were skeptical.
    Usage tips     The object of domesticate is usually a plant or animal.
    Parts of speech     domestic adj.
  • folklore [ˈfəʊklɔːr] n.
    Traditional myths of a people transmitted orally
    Through folklore, archaeologists have learned about the migration of Native Americans in North America.
    Parts of speech     folkloric adj.
  • fossilize [ˈfɑsəˌlaɪz] v.
    To become preserved in clay or stone or ash after death, so that a natural record is left of the original organism; to become rigid and stuck in old ways
    The dinosaur eggs had fossilized over thousands of years.
    Parts of speech     fossilization n., fossil n.
  • relic [ˈrelɪk] n.
    Something left from a long-ago culture, time period, or person
    Relics of the war can still be found in the sand dunes along this shore.
  • rite [raɪt] n.
    A ceremony meant to achieve a certain purpose
    Many cultures have fertility rites that supposedly make it more likely for women to bear children.
  • ritually [ˈrɪtʃ(u)əli] adv.
    As part of a traditional ceremony or habit
    The children ritually kissed their parents on the cheek before bed.
    Parts of speech     ritual n., ritual adj.
  • saga [ˈsɑːgə] n.
    A long story about important events long ago
    Many American families tell sagas about their ancestors’arrival in the United States.
  • vestige [ˈvestɪdʒ] n.
    A visible trace that something once existed
    The wilted flowers were the only vestige of their romantic weekend.

TOEFL Prep I Choose the word from the list that is closest in meaning to the underlined part of each sentence. Write it in the blank.

  • assimilate
  • cremation
  • domesticate
  • folklore
  • ritual
______ 1.In many cultures around the world, young boys are circumcised in a traditional ceremony.
______ 2.It is difficult to tame a bird that was born in the wild.
______ 3.Based on the oral legends about the fire, researchers estimate that about half of the townspeople died in the blaze.
______ 4.After the burning of the body, the remaining bits of bone are transferred to a large urn.
______ 5.Her husband could never fit into her family’s way of life.

TOEFL Prep II Write the best word next to each definition. Use each word only once.

  • fossilize
  • relic
  • rite
  • saga
  • vestige
______ 1.to harden after death
______ 2.a customary act
______ 3.a memento
______ 4.something remaining from the past
______ 5.a long story

Answer Key
  1. ritual
  2. domesticate
  3. folklore
  4. cremation
  5. assimilate
  1. fossilize
  2. rite
  3. relic
  4. vestige
  5. saga
Answer Key

TOEFL Success Read the passage to review the vocabulary you have learned. Answer the questions that follow.

The aborigines of Australia may have been some of the first people on the planet. Recent discoveries of relics, including stone tools, show that  humans lived near Penrith, New South Wales, about 47,000 years ago. Australian aborigines migrated from northern lands by sea, when the water passages were narrower than they are today. This is the first evidence of sea travel by prehistoric humans. The saga of this water passing survives in modern-day aboriginal folklore. To put this in perspective, remember that 50,000 years ago, humans were nomadic. Early aborigines did not cultivate crops, and in Australia at the time there were no animals that could be domesticated. No one knows how long it took aboriginal people to reach Australia, but archaeologists are searching through ancient campsites for vestiges of their early lifestyle. Fossilized remains indicate that these nomadic people not only gathered food from the land, but they also subsisted on meat from large animals that no longer exist today. As part of their hunting tradition, aborigines ritually covered themselves in mud to mask their own scent or for camouflage. Aboriginal society marked the major events of life with rites such as circumcision, marriage, and cremation. Older people were revered and cared for as great sources of wisdom. When Westerners arrived in Australia in 1788, the 300,000 aborigines who lived there were not eager to assimilate their ways. In the following years, disease, loss of land, and loss of identity shaped the aborigines’ history perhaps as much as their first prehistoric crossing from the north.

Bonus StructureTo put this in perspective means “to give some background information.”

  1. Which sentence best expresses the essential information in this passage?
    • a. Australian aborigines were some of the Earth’s first people.
    • b. White explorers did not respect aboriginal culture.
    • c. Australian aborigines probably migrated from Africa.
    • d. The organization and functioning of aboriginal society is mostly unknown.
  2. In this passage, the word ritually is closest in meaning to
    • a. regularly
    • b. ignorantly
    • c. superstitiously
    • d. dramatically
Answer Key
Answer Key
  1. a
  2. a
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