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The Great Gatsby

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
adapt
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
adapted to the new rules
I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all — Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.
unadaptable = not able to adjust

(Editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unadaptable means not and reverses the meaning of adaptable. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
From page 176.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of adapt means:
changed to fit a different situation; or made suitable
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 9, p.178.1
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, during his time with Cody, received an education that prepared him to lead a life suitable of a wealthy man. Recall 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 their time together.)
From page 101  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of appropriate means:
suitable (fitting) for a particular situation
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3, p.45
Web Links
consequence
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
From page 1.4  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1, p.1.4
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —1 use
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
From page 98.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect for someone or something thought inferior — often accompanied by a feeling of dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1, p.11.3
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 = express
From page 48.5  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convey means:
communicate or express
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1, p.7.4
Web Links
defer   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
deferred the decision
I told him that all arrangements had been deferred until he came.
deferred = delayed
From page 168.3  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
delay or postpone (hold off until a later time)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9, p.168.3
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
deferred to her wishes
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. Tom deferred that much to the sensibilities of those East Eggers who might be on the train.
deferred = submitted or yielded
From page 26.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2, p.26.9
Web Links
determine   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 6 uses
1  —1 use as in:
determine the truth
Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.
determine = discover
From page 20.8  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of determine means:
to learn, discover, or officially decide
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1, p.20.8
Web Links
2  —4 uses as in:
is determined to succeed
I saw that for some reason of his own he was determined not to come, so I stood up.
determined = firm in purpose
From page 172  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2, p.24.7
3  —1 use as in:
I determined what to do
He wanted to go, and he didn't see that Mr. Sloane had determined he shouldn't.
determined = decided

(editor's note:  This sense of determined is seen more in classic literature. In most of those uses today, it would be replaced by decided.)
From page 103.2  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of determine means:
decide
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6, p.103.2
direct
5 uses
1  —1 use as in:
depart directly
I drove from the station directly to Gatsby's house and my rushing anxiously up the front steps was the first thing that alarmed any one.
directly = straight (without delay or interruption)
From page 161.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
without delay, or in the quickest manner, or without going somewhere else first
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.161.9
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —4 uses
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.)
From page 26.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
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, p.26.9
Web Links
elude   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 5 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
she eluded the police
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... and one fine morning —
eluded = remained out of reach
From page 180.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elude means:
to avoid, or get away from, or remain out of reach
in various senses, including:
  • "She eluded the police."
  • "She eluded danger and finally arrived safely at home."
  • "Success has eluded me."
  • "She always messes up, but some how eludes taking responsibility."
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3, p.50.9
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
your point eludes me
— and suddenly I remembered the story about her that had eluded me that night at Daisy's.
eluded = escaped memory (couldn't be remembered)
From page 57.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elude means:
to escape understanding (not understand)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3, p.50
Web Links
incessant
9 uses
Tom talked incessantly,
incessantly = continuously
From page 135.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7, p.135.6
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
From page 66.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
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, p.10.9
Web Links
phenomenon
1 use
[T]here are, among other natural curiosities, two unusual formations of land. Twenty miles from the city a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay.... [A] more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size. I lived at West Egg, the — well, the less fashionable of the two,
phenomenon = thing of interest
From page 5.3  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally phenomenon means:
something that exists or happened — especially something of special interest — sometimes someone or something that is extraordinary
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1, p.5.3
Web Links
profound   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 6 uses
1  —1 use as in:
profound idea
"Tom's getting very profound," said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. "He reads deep books with long words in them."
profound = deep or far-reaching in intellect or insight
From page 13.1  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
deep or far-reaching in intellect or consequence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1, p.13.1
Web Links
2  —5 uses as in:
profound sadness
...and it occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.
profound = great in intensity
From page 124.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6, p.101.8
Web Links
scorn
6 uses
Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.
scorn = disrespect
From page 2.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally scorn means:
disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 4, p.80.8
Web Links
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