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TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 11 - Illness

Target Words 1. aggravate

2. decrepit

3. disease 4. fatally 5. forensics 6. persist 7. prognosis

8. terminal

9. vein 10. wound

Definitions and Samples

1. aggravate v. To make worse; to anger or intensify

Running will aggravate your sore knees. Parts of speech aggravation n

2. decrepit adj. Weakened or worn out because of age, illness, or excessive use The once-beautiful building was now dirty, decrepit, and roofless.

3. disease n. An unhealthful condition caused by an infection or a long-term physical problem Thanks to developments in medicine, many once-fatal diseases can now be cured.

4. fatally adv. Causing death or disaster The soldier was fatally wounded in the battle. Parts of speech fatality n, fatal adj 5. forensics n. The use of science and technology to investigate facts in criminal cases Advances in the study of forensics have made it much easier to identify criminals from very small traces of evidence. Parts of speech forensic adj

6. persist v. To continue to exist; to hold to a purpose, despite any obstacle If your symptoms persist, you should go see a doctor.

Lola persisted in her efforts to become a lawyer. Parts of speech persistence n, persistent adj

7. prognosis n. An educated guess of how something will develop, especially a disease The room fell silent when the doctor gave Senator Grebe a grim prognosis of months of treatment.

8. terminal adj. Located at an end; approaching death The cancer ward at the hospital held both terminal and recovering patients. Parts of speech terminate v, terminally adv

9. vein n. Any of the tubes that form a branching system, especially those that carry blood to the heart She became fascinated with human anatomy, especially when she learned how veins transport oxygen.

10. wound v. To inflict an injury on Sometimes he didn’t realize his sharp humor could wound as well as entertain.

He was wounded in the war. Parts of speech wound n


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

disease fatal persist prognosis wound

  1. He sustained a serious injury in the war, so he was sent home immediately.

  2. Her sickness was so rare, doctors weren’t certain how to treat it.

  3. His motto was to keep trying, no matter what happened.

  4. The medical staff could not know for sure whether the treatment would work, but they made a confident prediction that the patient would recover.

  5. The airplane crash was tragic, killing many people immediately and inflicting injuries on others that would eventually prove deadly.


Next to each definition, write the word that most closely fits it.

decrepit forensics terminal vein aggravate 1. the science involved in solving crimes

2. a vessel for carrying blood 3. to make worse 4. unable to be cured 5. in very bad condition

TOEFL Success

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

The man was decrepit. With high blood pressure, cancer, and liver disease, he aggravated his situation by smoking. His prognosis was death. His advanced lung cancer was terminal, and his family members knew that he would pass away soon. So no one was surprised to find him dead on that sharp winter Thursday, no one, that is, except one sharp-eyed detective, who noticed the bedroom window ajar on the morning of the old man’s death. Would a fatally ill person be likely to sleep with the window open on a freezing cold night? This question occupied forensic specialists from the medical examiner’s office. There, an autopsy revealed an unlikely wound on the victim’s thigh. Such a wound could easily have been inflicted by someone administering medicine . . . or poison. From there, the poison could travel through the veins, shutting down vital organs and causing death within seconds. Indeed, the death turned out to be murder in the first degree. Criminal investigators persisted in their questioning of friends and family, only later finding the motive: money. Two distant relatives who stood to inherit large sums from the old man’s estate plotted the death, believing that the old man’s death would not be questioned. Bonus Structure— Indeed indicates that an idea in an earlier paragraph was actually true.

1. Why does the author mention a wound? a. The wound caused the death. b. It was evidence of a struggle. c. It was suspicious. d. It was predictable, considering the man’s disease.

2. In the passage, the word inherit is closest in meaning to a. lose

b. gain

c. earn

d. want

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