400 Must Have Words for the TOEFL » LESSON 2 - Disaster

Word List
  • anticipate [ænˈtisəˌpeit] v.
    To expect; to sense something before it happens
    By placing sensors in earthquake-prone areas, scientists can anticipate some tremors in time to warn the public.
    Parts of speech     anticipation n., anticipatory adj.
  • catastrophic [ˌkædəˈstrɑfɪk] adj.
    Extremely harmful; causing financial or physical ruin
    The architect died in a catastrophic elevator accident.
    Parts of speech     catastrophe n., catastrophically adv.
  • collide [kəˈlaɪd] v.
    To come together with great or violent force
    As usual, their holiday was ruined when their in-laws’ views on politics collided with their own.
    Parts of speech     collision n.
  • eruption [əˈrəpʃ(ə)n] n.
    A sudden, often violent, outburst
    The eruption of Mount St.Helens in 1980 caused 57 deaths and immeasurable change to the face of the mountain.
    Usage tips     Eruption is often followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     erupt v.
  • famine [ˈfæmən] n.
    Severe hunger; a drastic food shortage
    The potato famine in Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century caused large numbers of Irish people to emigrate to America.
  • flood [fləd] n.
    An overflowing of water; an excessive amount
    The constant rain and poor drainage system caused a flood in town.
    Parts of speech     flood v.
  • impact [ˈɪmˌpækt] n.
    A strong influence
    The speech about the importance of education made an impact on me.
    Usage tips     Impact is usually followed by on or of.
    Parts of speech     impact v.
  • persevere [ˌpərsəˈvɪr] v.
    To keep going, despite obstacles or discouragement; to maintain a purpose
    The hikers persevered despite the bad weather and the icy trail.
    Parts of speech     persist v., persistent adj.
  • plunge [pləndʒ] v.
    To go down suddenly; to decrease by a great amount in a short time
    He jumped off the diving board and plunged into the pool.
    Usage tips     Plunge is often followed by an into phrase.
    Parts of speech     plunge n.
  • unleash [ˌənˈliʃ] v.
    To release a thing or an emotion
    When they saw the strange man on their property, they unleashed their dogs.

TOEFL Prep I Find the word or phrase that is closest in meaning to the opposite of each word in the left-hand column. Write the letter in the blank.

______ 1. persevere (a) to pass by without hitting
______ 2. anticipate (b) to give up
______ 3. famine (c) to not see something coming
______ 4. collide (d) harmless
______ 5. catastrophic (e) excess of food

TOEFL Prep II Circle the word that best completes each sentence.

  1. Residents of Hawaii must accept the possibility of a volcanic (eruption/ perseverance).
  2. Years after the accident,she was finally able to (anticipate / unleash) her feelings of anger.
  3. Houses along the river often face (famine / flooding) during the rainy season.
  4. Many people think it is cruel to (collide / plunge) live lobsters into boiling water.
  5. A well-written essay should make some kind of (catastrophe / impact) on its readers.
Answer Key
TOEFL Prep I
  1. a
  2. c
  3. e
  4. a
  5. d
TOEFL Prep II
  1. eruption
  2. unleash
  3. flooding
  4. plunge
Answer Key

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

Nature challenges humans in many ways,through disease, weather, and famine. For those living along the coast, one unusual phenomenon capable of catastrophic destruction is the tsunami (pronounced “tsoo-NAH-mee”). A tsunami is a series of waves generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance. Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions, and even the impact of meteorites can generate tsunamis. Starting at sea, a tsunami slowly approaches land, growing in height and losing energy through bottom friction and turbulence. Still, just like any other water waves, tsunamis unleash tremendous energy as they plunge onto the shore. They have great erosion potential, stripping beaches of sand, undermining trees, and flooding hundreds of meters inland. They can easily crush cars, homes, vegetation, and anything they collide with. To minimize the devastation of a tsunami, scientists are constantly trying to anticipate them more accurately and more quickly. Because many factors come together to produce a life-threatening tsunami, foreseeing them is not easy. Despite this, researchers in meteorology persevere in studying and predicting tsunami behavior.

Bonus Structure Despite this means “even so; regardless.”

  1. Which sentence best expresses the essential information of this passage?
    • a. Tsunamis could become a new source of usable energy in the next hundred years.
    • b. Tsunamis do more damage to the land than flooding.
    • c. Tsunamis can have an especially catastrophic impact on coastal communities.
    • d. Scientists can predict and track tsunamis with a fair degree of accuracy, reducing their potential impact.
  2. In the first sentence, why does the author mention weather?
    • a. because tsunamis are caused by bad weather
    • b. because tsunamis are more destructive than weather phenomena
    • c. as an example of a destructive natural force
    • d. as an introduction to the topic of coastal storms
Answer Key
Answer Key
  1. c
  2. c
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