toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books
Book Menu

The Great Gatsby
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

(click/touch triangles for details)
abrupt
8 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
an abrupt change
Tom threw on both brakes impatiently, and we slid to an abrupt dusty stop under Wilson's sign.
abrupt = sudden
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abrupt means:
sudden and unexpected
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
affectation
1 use
[Speaking of Jordan Baker] The bored haughty face that she turned to the world concealed something — most affectations conceal something eventually, even though they don't in the beginning — and one day I found what it was. ... She was incurably dishonest.
affectations = things done in an artificial way to make an impression
DefinitionGenerally affectation means:
behaving in an artificial way to make an impression
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
appropriate
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
it is appropriate
And it was from Cody that he inherited money — a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. He didn't get it. ... He was left with his singularly appropriate education; the vague contour of Jay Gatsby had filled out to the substantiality of a man.
appropriate = suitable or fitting

(editor's note: This editor thinks Nick is saying that Gatsby received an education while with Cody that helped prepare him to lead a life suitable of a wealthy man. Note that James Gatz invented Jay Gatsby when he met Cody. At first there was just a vague contour of Jay Gatsby. In this context, a contour is an outline or a hollow shape. That contour was substantially filled out during Gatsby's and Cody's acquaintance.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of appropriate means:
suitable (fitting) for a particular situation
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
assert   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
asserted her opinion that...
"I've done some nice things out on Long Island," asserted Mr. McKee.
asserted = said
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assert means:
to say that something is true — especially something disputed
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
asserted her authority
Her body asserted itself with a restless movement of her knee, and she stood up.
asserted = was forceful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assert means:
to be forceful in exercising influence or rights
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
assume   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 5 uses
1  —1 use as in:
I assume it's true
The supercilious assumption was that on Sunday afternoon I had nothing better to do.
assumption = something accepted as true (without proof)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
to accept something as true without proof
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
2  —4 uses as in:
She assumed a false identity
My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn.
assumed = taken on (the appearance of)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
to take on (adopt, wear, strike a pose or appearance of) — often while pretending or disguising
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
consequence   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
a direct consequence of
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." ... In consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, ...
consequence = result
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
of little consequence
I had talked with him perhaps half a dozen times in the past month and found, to my disappointment, that he had little to say: So my first impression, that he was a person of some undefined consequence, had gradually faded and he had become simply the proprietor of an elaborate road-house next door.
consequence = importance or significance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
importance or relevance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
contempt
7 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
[Gatsby] knew women early, and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them,
contemptuous = disrespectful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
convey
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
convey her thoughts
[Nick describing his first impression of Gatsby:]  It was one of those rare smiles ... [that] concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
convey = communicate or express
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
desolate
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
felt desolate
About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes...
desolate = miserable (and providing no support for life)

(editor's note: In those days, cities created a lot ashes (i.e., what remains of things after they are burned up). In the novel, this area is where ashes were dumped. It symbolized the ugliness hidden from view in nicer areas.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of desolate means:
sad or miserable—and often lonely
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
discreet
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
discreet--not showy or gossipy
So Tom Buchanan and his girl and I went up together to New York — or not quite together, for Mrs. Wilson sat discreetly in another car.
discreetly = in a manner that is unlikely to attract attention or cause embarrassment

(editor's note:  Since Myrtle Wilson is Tom's girl and since each is married to someone else, they do not want to be too obvious by traveling in the same car.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discreet means:
trustworthy with secrets and/or inconspicuous or unobtrusive
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
dispute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
their border dispute
...the dispute ended in a short struggle,
dispute = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
disagreement, argument, or conflict
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
elaborate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 6 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
an elaborate design
It was that night he sent for me at his dance, and you should have heard the elaborate way he worked up to it.
elaborate = complicated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
having details and complexity — sometimes fancy or ornate
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
an elaborate wink
[Nick describing Gatsby:]  ...I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.
elaborate = exaggerated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
to exaggerate an action
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
incessant
9 uses
Tom talked incessantly,
incessantly = continuously
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
incredulous
8 uses
For a moment I suspected that he was pulling my leg, but a glance at him convinced me otherwise. ... With an effort I managed to restrain my incredulous laughter.
incredulous = disbelieving
DefinitionGenerally incredulous means:
unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
sensuous
3 uses
She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can.
sensuously = in an attractive or sexy manner
DefinitionGenerally sensuous means:
relating to pleasure from the body's senses rather than from the mind
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
sinister
4 uses
I lived at West Egg, the — well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.
sinister = foreshadowing harm

(editor's note:  Gatsby lives on the West Egg where there is new money. Daisy and Tom who both live on the East Egg where there is old money. This editor thinks Nick is using the word sinister to foreshadow the harm caused in the novel by stereotypical differences between people with old and new money.)
DefinitionGenerally sinister means:
evil or harmful; or making an evil or frightening impression
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
Take Quiz
Go to Book Menu
Browse with Large-Screen
(more words/choices)
SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which is not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™, and does not endorse this site.