gist

noun
\ ˈjist How to pronounce gist (audio) \

Definition of gist

1 : the ground (see ground entry 1 sense 2a) of a legal action
2 : the main point or part : essence the gist of an argument

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The gist of the conversation was that .... The word gist often appears in such contexts to let us know that what follows will be a statement or summary that in some way encapsulates the main point or overarching theme. The gist of a conversation, argument, story, or what-have-you is what we rely on when the actual words and details are only imperfectly recalled, inessential, or too voluminous to recount in their entirety. Gist was borrowed from the Anglo-French legal phrase "[cest] action gist" ("[this] action lies") in the early 18th century, and was originally used in legal contexts as a term referring to the foundation or grounds for a legal action without which that action would not be legally sustainable.

Examples of gist in a Sentence

Thus, Poulterers' Case gave rise to a doctrine which survives to this day: the gist of conspiracy is the agreement, and so the agreement is punishable even if its purpose was not achieved. — Wayne R. LaFave & Austin W. Scott, Jr., Criminal Law, (1972) 1986 … Einstein showed how time intervals depend on the motion of people and clocks doing the measuring. And that's the gist of relativity. — Alan Lightman, Science, January/February 1984 Dorothea told him that she had seen Lydgate, and recited the gist of her conversation with him about the Hospital. — George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1872 didn't catch every word between them, but heard enough to get the gist of the conversation
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But that was the gist of a call for bids that appeared on Venice’s municipal website in March. New York Times, "A Chance to Spend 99-Plus Years in Venice (in the Afterlife)," 21 May 2018 The gist: After their lame attempts fail to drive out the humans now living in their home, two mild-mannered ghosts enlist an annoying demon named Beetlejuice to finish the job. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018 The gist is this: Regular people try to recreate professional pastries, typically to hilarious results. The Editors, Marie Claire, "Marie Claire Editors Tell You Their Favorite Things You Probably Missed in 2018," 31 Dec. 2018 Here's the gist: The entire series takes place in Chicago, but each 30-minute episode focuses on the love lives of different characters in all types of relationships. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "15 Netflix Shows With the Hottest Sex Scenes You Need to Watch," 21 Dec. 2018 For more perspective: Rachel's season aired May 22, Jojo's on May 2013, Kaitlyn's on May 18, Andi on May 19, Desiree on May 27—you get the gist. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "When Will 'The Bachelorette' Air in 2019? You Won't Wait Long," 6 Mar. 2019 That’s the gist of Project Winter, a very boring name for a game that sounds interesting, combining the stealth-multiplayer aspects of something like SpyParty or Murderous Pursuits with modern survival mechanics. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Bungie divorces Activision, Epic gives our favorite game of 2017 away for free," 11 Jan. 2019 The words may change a little, but the gist is always the same. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Mariners 3B Kyle Seager had his worst statistical season in 2018. Here’s what went wrong.," 1 Oct. 2018 The gist is that, for its Mainstage events, five storytellers get on stage to tell true tales from their lives. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "How The Moth Made the World's Oldest Art Form Cool Again," 8 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gist

circa 1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gist

Anglo-French, it lies, from gisir to lie, ultimately from Latin jacēre — more at adjacent

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gist

Listen to Our Podcast about gist

Dictionary Entries near gist

gism

gismondite

Gissing

gist

git

gitana

Gitanemuk

Statistics for gist

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gist

The first known use of gist was circa 1711

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gist

gist

noun
\ ˈjist How to pronounce gist (audio) \

Kids Definition of gist

: the main point of a matter He spoke so fast, I only got the gist of the story.

gist

noun
\ ˈjist How to pronounce gist (audio) \

Legal Definition of gist

: the ground or foundation of a legal action without which it would not be sustainable

History and Etymology for gist

Anglo-French, in the phrase laccion gist the action lies or is based (on), from gisir to lie (of process), from Old French gesir to lie, ultimately from Latin jacere

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gist

Spanish Central: Translation of gist

Nglish: Translation of gist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gist

What made you want to look up gist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!