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TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 40 - Risky Fashions

Target Words

1. bulk

2. capricious

3. cumbersome

4. exotic

5. inhibit

6. minimum

7. striking

8. trend

9. vanity

10. vulnerable

Definitions and Samples

1. bulk 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

2. capricious 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

3. cumbersome 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.

4. exotic 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

5. inhibit v. To discourage or to slow down

This lotion will inhibit the itching caused by mosquito bites.

Parts of speech inhibition n

6. minimum 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

7. striking 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

8. 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

9. vanity 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

10. vulnerable 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


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

1. capricious (a) encourage

2. exotic (b) maximum

3. inhibit (c) ordinary

4. minimum (d) predictable

5. vulnerable (e) well protected


Choose 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.

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 Risky Fashions 197 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 Structure— It’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.

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