400 Must Have Words for the TOEFL » LESSON 40 - Risky Fashions

Word List
  • bulk [bʌlk] n.
    Largeness and a heavy appearance
    The bulk of Kevin’s athletic body was too great for one small chair, so he sat on a bench.
    Parts of speech     bulky adj.
  • capricious [kəˈprɪʃəs] adj.
    Moving unpredictably from one thing to another
    Your college studies will go on too long if you make capricious jumps from one major to another.
    Usage tips     Capricious comes from a Latin word meaning “goat”and implies a motion like the jumping of a goat.
    Parts of speech     capriciousness n., capriciously adv.
  • cumbersome [ˈkʌmbəsəm] adj.
    Difficult to wear or carry because of weight or shape
    To make it to the top of the mountain before dark, the hikers dumped their cumbersome tent.
  • exotic [ɪgˈzɒtɪk] adj.
    Interesting or unusual because of coming from a faraway place
    I walked into the restaurant and smelled the exotic aromas of Malaysian spices.
    Parts of speech     exoticism n., exotically adv.
  • inhibit [ɪnˈhɪbɪt] v.
    To discourage or to slow down
    This lotion will inhibit the itching caused by mosquito bites.
    Parts of speech     inhibition n.
  • minimum [ˈmɪnɪməm] n.
    The smallest possible amount or level
    The minimum for being accepted to Cavill University is a score of 60 on the test.
    Parts of speech     minimize v., minimum adj., minimal adj., minimally adv.
  • striking [ˈstraɪkɪŋ] adj.
    Very noticeable;easily attracting attention
    Gordon had a striking new attitude after he learned self-discipline at the army academy.
    Usage tips     Striking comes from a verb that means “to hit.”
    Parts of speech     strike v., strikingly adv.
  • trend [trend] n.
    A movement in one direction or a widespread change in fashion
    The trend among some young men is to wear their caps with the bill off to one side.
    Parts of speech     trend v., trendy adj.
  • vanity [ˈvænɪtɪ] n.
    An excessive concern for one’s appearance
    Mark’s vanity led him to spend far too much money on haircuts and new clothes.
    Parts of speech     vain adj.
  • vulnerable [ˈvʌlnərəbl] adj.
    Exposed to possible harm
    Babies and very old people are especially vulnerable to the new disease.
    Usage tips     Vulnerable is often followed by a to phrase.
    Parts of speech     vulnerability n., vulnerably adv.

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. capricious(a) encourage
______ 2. exotic(b) maximum
______ 3. inhibit(c) ordinary
______ 4. minimum(d) predictable
______ 5. vulnerable(e) well protected

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

  1. The (trend / bulk) of his sweater made him look fatter than he really was.
  2. Some analysts see a relationship between fashion (trends / vanity) and the ups and down of the economy.
  3. The outfits worn by firefighters are (vulnerable / cumbersome) and heavy.
  4. Her necklace was especially (cumbersome / striking) because of the diamonds it contained.
  5. (Vanity / Bulk) led my grandfather to dye his hair and to dress like someone 40 years younger.
Answer Key
TOEFL Prep I
  1. d
  2. c
  3. a
  4. b
  5. e
TOEFL Prep II
  1. bulk
  2. trends
  3. cumbersome
  4. striking
  5. Vanity
Answer Key

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

The fashion industry encourages people to spend far too much time and money on clothes. It’s natural for humans to use clothing as a mark of belonging to a group and to try to keep up with style trends. The fashion industry exploits this natural desire and turns it into a capricious, impractical, and expensive rush from one style to another. For example,in one recent year, fashion did an abrupt about-face. Early in the year, fashionable outfits showed a minimum amount of fabric and a maximum amount of skin. By late summer, famous fashion designers were drowning people in bulky, cumbersome outfits that looked five sizes too big. Vanity inhibits people from looking realistically at exotic clothing fads. A striking new style catches their eye, they look at the clothes they’re wearing, and they are suddenly vulnerable to the manipulation of the fashion industry.

Bonus StructureIt’s natural for introduces an aspect of fashion that’s not bad, but it implies that an “unnatural” aspect will come next.

  1. Which word best describes the fashion industry, according to the author?
    • a. striking
    • b. minimum
    • c. capricious
    • d. vulnerable
  2. What is one reason people buy the latest fashions,according to the author?
    • a. Because they want to feel like they are part of the group.
    • b. Because they enjoy spending money.
    • c. Because the fashion world is bizarre.
    • d. Because their clothes from last year don’t fit.
Answer Key
Answer Key
  1. c
  2. a
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