gist

noun
\ ˈjist How to pronounce gist (audio) \

Definition of gist

1 : the ground (see ground entry 1 sense 4a) 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 gist is that the animal’s eyes fail to form properly, and in some cases, this leads to an animal having just one eye instead of two. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Mutated shark with a ‘human face’ found by fisherman," 23 Feb. 2021 The gist: execs, managers, and employees meet to hear from Black, Indigenous, and people of color at their companies to learn about their racist experiences and listen to their grievances — most are overseen by a moderator. Kathleen Newman-bremang, refinery29.com, "White People, Are You Done “Listening & Learning” Yet?," 6 Oct. 2020 That’s the gist of an analysis by attorneys Stephen Duvernay and Brandon Stracener, who examined the law in April for a blog dedicated to the California Supreme Court. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "San Bernardino County sues Newsom over coronavirus restrictions," 17 Dec. 2020 Variations of the diet include adding eggs, dairy, spices, and coffee, but the gist is clear: The carnivore diet is all about eating mainly meat. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Good Housekeeping, "What You Need to Know About the Carnivore Diet," 14 Dec. 2020 The quick gist: Imagine a library in which each book represents a different path your life could have taken. Sydney Williams, NBC News, "Best books 2020: Winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards," 9 Dec. 2020 The gist is that Bo-Katan’s sister Satine was once the ruler of Mandalore (and also Obi-Wan Kenobi’s true love, but hopefully that’s a story the upcoming Kenobi series will touch on) and so was Bo-Katan at one point. Lauren Morgan, EW.com, "The Mandalorian recap: Mando meets a legendary Mandalorian warrior," 13 Nov. 2020 The gist is that the Nano extensions were updated to surreptitiously upload your browsing data in a remotely configurable way. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Adblockers installed 300,000 times are malicious and should be removed now," 20 Oct. 2020 That's the gist of the perfect blonde: highlights, plus some extra TLC. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, "Hilary Duff’s Colourist Just Spilled Her Formula For The Perfect Blonde Highlights," 6 Oct. 2020

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

1632, 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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Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gist. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gist

Nglish: Translation of gist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gist for Arabic Speakers

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