Definition of gist
- the gist of an argument
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didn't catch every word between them, but heard enough to get the gist of the conversation
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.
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.
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