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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Upper East Side audience featured the likes of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Obama Administration car czar Steve Rattner and former Hillary Clinton adviser Lisa Caputo — political pros who got the gist of Biden’s push. Philip Elliott, Time, "Joe Biden Keeps Stumbling. The Democratic Pile-On Is Just Getting Started.," 21 June 2019 The gist of these stories is that such outcomes are not only ludicrous but unjust. The Conversation, oregonlive.com, "Who’s is your daddy? It’s not all about DNA," 16 June 2019 But Scholze hopes that, in contrast with the situation for Mochizuki’s original series of papers, this should not be a protracted process, since the gist of his and Stix’s objection is not highly technical. Quanta Magazine, "Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture," 20 Sep. 2018 Without giving away the episode's twists, here's the gist: Rachel is 15, friendless, and feeling lost. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "Was That Really Ariana Grande In Black Mirror?," 5 June 2019 Okay, so the gist is that Harm and Mac obviously have chemistry. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Um, Did 'NCIS: LA' Just Hint That 'JAG' Characters Harm and Mac Aren't Together?," 19 May 2019 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

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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near gist

gism

gismondite

Gissing

gist

git

gitana

Gitanemuk

Statistics for gist

Last Updated

2 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for gist

The first known use of gist was circa 1711

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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

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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

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