I took one look at him

Discussion in 'English Only' started by benjaminbosquier, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. benjaminbosquier Senior Member

    français - France
    I'd like to know if, according to you, "I took one look at him" in the chapter 4 of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald means "to have a quick glance" or "to stare / gaze at":

    A small flat-nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment I discovered his tiny eyes in the half-darkness.
    “—So I took one look at him,” said Mr. Wolfsheim, shaking my hand earnestly, “ —and what do you think I did?”
    Thank you.
  2. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Actually, I think it's somewhere between the two, although closer to "a quick glance." In other words, he didn't need very long to come to whatever conclusion or decision he arrived at.
  3. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    It is an idiom which we use when we think we can make a quick "snap" judgement about someone. It means the guy he is looking at / talking about had a fairly distinctive style or appearance which the person looking at can evaluate quickly.
  4. benjaminbosquier Senior Member

    français - France
    Thank you for these explanations.

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