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

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 As such, details may sometimes be debatable, but, usually, if the narrative sticks around, something about the gist of it is right. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Are Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Really Feuding?," 3 Dec. 2018 Ultimately, that’s the gist of every Wachowski movie. Jaya Saxena, GQ, "Speed Racer Is on Netflix and You Should Watch It Right Now," 19 Apr. 2018 The gist The fashion industry loves its shoe oddities, from toe shoes to uber-pointy sneakers. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "@ShoeIcons Is Instagram's Historical Treasure Trove For Footwear Fanatics," 19 July 2018 All anyone wanted was the secret to Villanova’s magic, the gist behind the three-point machine. Greg Bishop, SI.com, "Villanova's Overpowering Perimeter Performance Against Kansas Puts Wildcats on Brink of Title," 1 Apr. 2018 Here's the gist: Instead of painterly bronzing and blending, strobing seeks to define your features by using light—and light alone. Lauren Valenti, Marie Claire, "Meet "Strobing," the Anti-Contouring Beauty Trick You Need to Know Now," 18 May 2015

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

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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