Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[jist] /dʒɪst/
the main or essential part of a matter:
What was the gist of his speech?
the ground of a legal action.
Origin of gist
1720-30; < Anglo-French (cest action) gist (this matter) lies, 3rd singular present indicative of Anglo-French, Old French gesir to lie ≪ Latin jacēre
Can be confused
gist, jest, just.
1. essence, point, substance, burden, kernel, import. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for gist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for gist


the point or substance of an argument, speech, etc
(law) the essential point of an action
Word Origin
C18: from Anglo-French, as in cest action gist en this action consists in, literally: lies in, from Old French gésir to lie, from Latin jacēre, from jacere to throw
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gist

1711, "the real point" (of a law case, etc.), from Anglo-French legalese phrases, e.g. cest action gist "this action lies," meaning "this case is sustainable by law," from Old French gist en "it consists in, it lies in" (third person singular present indicative of gésir "to lie"), from Latin iacet "it lies," from iacere "to lie, rest," related to iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Extended sense of "essence" first recorded 1823.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for gist

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for gist

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for gist