(also the gist) [singular] gist (of something) the main or general meaning of a piece of writing, a speech or a conversation to get (= understand) the gist of an argument I missed the beginning of the lecture—can you give me the gist of what he said? I'm afraid I don't quite follow your gist (= what you really mean). Students are taught the skills of reading and listening for gist. Word Origin early 18th cent.: 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.Extra examples It is difficult to convey the gist of Reich’s ideas simply. I’m afraid I don’t quite follow your gist. Just try to get the gist of the argument. Students are taught the skill of reading for gist.