400 Must Have Words for the TOEFL » LESSON 30 - Crimes at Sea

Word List
  • abduction [æbˈdʌkʃən] n.
    Pirates got many crew members by abduction, snatching unlucky citizens from seaport towns.
    Parts of speech     abduct v.
  • coerce [koʊˈərs] v.
    To force; to put pressure on someone to do something
    A criminal’s confession is not usable in court if the police coerce him or her into giving it.
    Parts of speech     coercion n., coercive adj.
  • detain [dɪˈteɪn] v.
    To prevent someone, for a relatively short time, from going on their way
    The police detained at least 20 men for questioning,but charged none of them with a crime.
    Parts of speech     detention n., detainee n.
  • deviant [ˈdiːvɪənt] adj.
    In a style that is not normal and is offensive to many
    The artist based his reputation on creating deviant works of art that disgusted most of the public.
    Usage tips     Deviant always implies a bad opinion of someone or something.
    Parts of speech     deviant n., deviation n., deviate v.
  • distort [dɪsˈtɔːt] v.
    To twist or misrepresent; to make something seem different from what it really is
    If you hold a pencil in a glass of water, the water distorts the appearance of the pencil.
    Parts of speech     distortion n.
  • intentionally [ɪnˈtenʃnəlɪ] adv.
    On purpose, not by accident
    Danny intentionally lost his last golf ball because he was tired of playing.
    Parts of speech     intent n., intention n., intend v., intentional adj.
  • piracy [ˈpaɪərəsɪ] n.
    Stealing a ship or taking the ship’s cargo; the unlawful copying of books, CDs, etc.
    Modern-day piracy occurs mostly near groups of small,uninhabited islands where pirates can hide.
    Parts of speech     pirate n., pirate v.
  • predicament [prɪˈdɪkəmənt] n.
    A difficult situation, one that is hard to get out of
    College basketball stars face the predicament of wanting to graduate but being tempted by high professional salaries.
  • smuggle [ˈsmʌgl] v.
    To illegally bring things into a country
    The pirate Ben Dewar smuggled guns to British and Indian fighters in North America.
    Parts of speech     smuggler n., smuggling n.
  • villainy [ˈvɪlənɪ] n.
    Exceptional badness, as demonstrated by many serious evil deeds
    Fred was not a natural criminal, but he learned all kinds of villainy while being jailed for a minor crime.
    Parts of speech     villain n., villainous adj.

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. detain (a) clarify
______ 2. distort (b) by accident
______ 3. villainy (c) let go
______ 4. intentionally (d) normal
______ 5. deviant (e) good deeds

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

  • abducted
  • coerced
  • piracy
  • predicament
  • smuggled
______ 1.The police force’s difficult situation involved a bank robber who threatened to shoot a bank employee if any police approached.
______ 2.Despite laws restricting animal imports, thousands of monkeys and lemurs and other wild animals are brought illegally into the United States.
______ 3.The enemy captured and took away the general’s son.
______ 4.Two men were convicted of stealing a boat near the Riau Islands.
______ 5.By threatening to set fire to their ship, the governor of Bermuda pressured the pirate crew to give themselve sup.

Answer Key
  1. c
  2. a
  3. e
  4. b
  5. d
  1. predicament
  2. smuggled
  3. abducted
  4. piracy
  5. coerced
Answer Key

TOEFL Success Read the passage to review the vocabulary you have learned. Answer the question that follows.

The Spanish explorer Pizarro’s abduction of the Inca King Atahualpa came in 1529. His men detained the king, coerced the Incas into paying a large ransom in gold and silver, and then intentionally killed the king anyway. Their conquest of Peru established the legendary Spanish Main— Spanish holdings on the mainland of Central and South America. The predicament for Spain’s kings was how to get the riches of the New World to Spain. Pirates and privateers ruled the waves. To distort what was actually just robbery, the king of England issued “letters of marque,” licenses that turned certain pirates into agents of the British government. Their piracy against Spanish ships and Spanish gold was considered service to the king or queen of England.

Most pirates with such letters were social deviants anyway, and predictably, they became embarrassments to the British crown. In 1603, Britain’s King James I canceled all his government’s letters of marque. The many dangerous, unemployed pirates became buccaneers, a terrifying mix of tough characters that operated from the island of Hispaniola. They conducted merciless raids on Spanish settlements and formed a brotherhood known for theft, torture, smuggling, and villainy of all sorts.

Bonus StructurePredictably means that the information that follows is no surprise.

An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the three answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. In each blank, write the letter of one of your choices.
The establishment of the Spanish Main provided rich targets for pirates and privateers,often with government encouragement.

a. Pizarro’s men abducted King Atahualpa in 1529.
b. By issuing letters of marque, the kings of England gave their approval of raids on Spanish ships.
c. Piracy in the South China Sea was also a problem at this time.
d. Pirates who worked for the English crown were known as buccaneers.
e. Sailing under a letter of marque, a privateer could steal property in the king’s name.
f. Eventually, the English crown was embarrassed by the behavior of its privateers and canceled the letters of marque.

Answer Key
Answer Key
  1. b
  2. e
  3. f
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