Word of the Day : May 6, 2014

gist

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noun JIST

Definition

1 : the ground of a legal action

2 : the main point or part : essence

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

I didn't catch every word, but I heard enough to get the gist of the conversation.

"If you have seen the animated children's movie Balto, you know the gist of the Iditarod story; however, there is more to the story than a mysterious wolf/dog who beat the odds, carried the antitoxin across the tundra and got the girl." - From an article by Victoria Burris in The Omnibus (Southwest Baptist University), March 5, 2014



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "epistolary," our Word of the Day from April 6? The answer is …


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