TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 36 - Social Rebels

Target Words

1. adolescent

2. cause

3. conflict

4. delinquency

5. fringe

6. hedonistic

7. hypocritically

8. manipulation

9. rebel

10. status quo

Definitions and Samples


1. adolescent adj. Characteristic of a teenager; not fully grown up

In policy meetings, George refuses to reason with anyone and just scowls in an adolescent way.

Parts of speech adolescent n, adolescence n


2. cause n. A political or social goal that one believes is right and works to achieve

Our river cleanup effort would be more effective if someone famous spoke out for the cause.


3. conflict v. To fit so poorly together that the differences cause a problem

A teenager’s need for security can conflict with his desire for independence from his family. Parts of speech conflict n


4. delinquency n. Serious misbehavior; not doing what one should do

Because of his laziness and delinquency, Lefty was an unreliable friend.

Usage tips A common combination is juvenile delinquency, meaning “criminal behavior by a teenager.”

Parts of speech delinquent n, delinquent adj


5. fringe n. Edge; in social contexts, parts of society that look or act very different from most people

Punk music got its start at the fringe of London’s rock music culture.

Usage tips Fringe implies an edge that is uneven and not very solid.

Parts of speech fringy adj


6. hedonistic adj. Excessively interested in seeking pleasure

Suddenly wealthy, Allen fell into a hedonistic life of parties, expensive dinners, and heavy drinking.

Usage tips Hedonistic usually implies that the pleasures are wrong.

Parts of speech hedonist n, hedonism n, hedonistically adv


7. hypocritically adv. In a way that accuses other people of weaknesses that the speaker also possesses

Henry spent $2,500 on a new suit and then hypocritically accused me of spending too much on clothes.

Parts of speech hypocrite n, hypocrisy n, hypocritical adj


8. manipulation n. Quietly moving or influencing people or things in order to get what you want

Bob’s manipulation of the boss’s feelings led to his promotion.

Parts of speech manipulate v, manipulator n, manipulative adj


9. rebel v. To go against an established system or authority

The people of Ghurdia rebelled against the dictator and set up a new government.

Usage tips Rebel works well in political contexts and in contexts of personal relationships. Parts of speech rebel n, rebellion n


10. status quo n. The systems and conditions that exist now

Let’s just maintain the status quo until we can think of a better way.


TOEFL Prep I

Find the word or phrase that is closest in meaning to each word in the left-hand column.

1. adolescent (a) not doing what you’re supposed to

2. conflict (b) clash; not fit together

3. delinquency (c) edge

4. fringe (d) like a teenager

5. status quo (e) current conditions


TOEFL Prep II

Complete each sentence by filling in the blank with the best word from the list.

Change the form of the word if necessary. Use each word only once.


cause hedonistic hypocritically manipulation rebel


1. Senator Bond, who often lied to Congress, __________ called the president a liar.

2. Some monks criticized the well-fed, art-loving people of fifteenth century Florence for being __________.

3. During the 1970s, college students fought for one __________ after another, from saving the whales to changing the government.

4. Even though it’s illegal, __________ of lawmakers by rich companies is common.

5. It’s natural for young people to __________ against society, but not with violence.


TOEFL Success

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


Many adolescents and young adults go through a period when they rebel against what they perceive as an insincere world. Teens may take up causes such as radical environmentalism, protesting against the status quo. They may choose clothes that annoy their parents and associate with people from the fringes of society. This is a delicate period in a person’s life, full of chances to make bad decisions that could lead to juvenile delinquency and even jail. Conversely, it can be a time of personal discovery that strengthens teens in a moral rejection of hedonistic lifestyles. At this age they may fearlessly speak up against hypocritically self-righteous authorities and against manipulation by the news media. These adolescent protests can lead to conflicts within families and communities, but stirring things up can also lead to serious reflection and positive change.


1. Which sentence best expresses the essential information of this passage?

a. Teens are hedonistic and self-serving.

b. Many teenagers are radical environmentalists.

c. Adolescents often create conflicts in their communities.

d. Teenage rebellion can cause problems, but it can be positive too.


2. According to the reading, what is one possible positive effect of teen rebellion?

a. Adults might try to make positive changes.

b. Teens may get in trouble with the police.

c. Teens may become responsible adults later in life.

d. Adults might imitate teens and also rebel.

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