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TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 30 - Crimes at Sea

Target Words 1. abduction

2. coerce 3. detain 4. deviant 5. distort 6. intentionally

7. piracy 8. predicament

9. smuggle 10. villainy

Definitions and Samples

1. abduction n. Kidnapping Pirates got many crew members by abduction, snatching unlucky citizens from seaport towns.

Parts of speech abduct v

2. coerce 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

3. detain 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 4. deviant 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

5. distort 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

6. intentionally 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

7. piracy 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. The software company constantly battled piracy.

Parts of speech pirate n, pirate v

8. predicament 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.

9. smuggle 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 10. villainy 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


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

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 themselves up.

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 Structure— Predictably 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 three answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage.

The establishment of the Spanish Main provided rich targets or 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.

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