Pronunciation Noun

gist (plural gists)

  1. The most essential part; the main idea or substance (of a longer or more complicated matter); the crux of a matter; the pith.
    • 1948, Carl Sandburg, Remembrance Rock, page 103,
      "Should they live and build their church in the American wilderness, their worst dangers would rise in and among themselves rather than outside. That was the gist of the lesson from their pastor and "wellwiller" John Robinson."
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XIX, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      He was handing her something in an envelope, and she was saying “Oh, Jeeves, you've saved a human life,” and he was saying “Not at all, miss.” The gist, of course, escaped me, but I had no leisure to probe into gists.
    • 1996, Nicky Silver, Etiquette and Vitriol, Theatre Communications Group 1996, p. 10:
      I was really just vomiting images like spoiled sushi (that may be an ill-considered metaphor, but you get my gist).
    • 2003, David McDuff, translating Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, Penguin 2003 p. 183:
      I don't remember his exact words, but the gist of it was that he wanted it all for nothing, as quickly as possible, without any effort.
  2. (legal, dated) The essential ground for action in a suit, without which there is no cause of action.
  3. (obsolete) Resting place (especially of animals), lodging.
    • 1601, Philemon Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History, 1st ed., book X ↗, chapter XXIII “Of Swallowes, Ousles, or Merles, Thrushes, Stares or Sterlings, Turtles, and Stockdoves.”, p. 282:
      These Quailes have their set gists, to wit, ordinarie resting and baiting places. [These quails have their set gists, to wit, ordinary resting and baiting places.]
Synonyms Translations Translations Verb

gist (gists, present participle gisting; past and past participle gisted)

  1. To summarize, to extract and present the most important parts of.
    • 1873, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Educational Association, session of the year 1872, at Boston, Massachusetts, page 201:
      There are two general ways of getting information, and these two general ways may be summed up in this: take one branch of study and its principles are all gisted, they have been gisted by the accumulated thought of years gone by. These gisted thoughts are axioms, or received principles, […]

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