Share this entry
gist Line breaks: gist
Pronunciation: /dʒɪst/

Definition of gist in English:


[in singular]
1The substance or general meaning of a speech or text: it was hard to get the gist of Pedro’s talk
More example sentences
  • The minutiae of meetings remains private, but the general gist is that it was a problem and it has been addressed.
  • The general gist of the plots are all protagonists love and lose out.
  • I can remember the general gist of them, but nothing specific.
essence, substance, quintessence, main idea/theme, central idea/theme, nub, core, heart, heart of the matter, nucleus, kernel, pith, marrow, meat, burden, crux, important point;
thrust, direction, drift, sense, meaning, significance, import
informal nitty-gritty
2 Law The real point of an action: damage is the gist of the action and without it the plaintiff must fail
More example sentences
  • The gist of the tort of unlawful interference is the intentional infliction of economic harm.
  • Where damage is the gist of the action, as in negligence, the claimant must prove actual loss.
  • The substance of the libel is true: the question is whether what is stated inaccurately is of the gist of the libel.


Early 18th century: from Old French, third person singular present tense of gesir 'to lie', from Latin jacere. The Anglo-French legal phrase cest action gist 'this action lies' denoted that there were sufficient grounds to proceed; gist was adopted into English denoting the grounds themselves (sense 2).

Words that rhyme with gist

assist, cist, coexist, consist, cyst, desist, enlist, exist, grist, hist, insist, list, Liszt, mist, persist, resist, schist, subsist, tryst, twist, whist, wist, wrist
Definition of gist in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources