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gist

[jist] /dʒɪst/
noun
1.
the main or essential part of a matter:
What was the gist of his speech?
2.
the ground of a legal action.
Origin of gist
1720-1730
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.
Synonyms
1. essence, point, substance, burden, kernel, import.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for gist

gist

/dʒɪst/
noun
1.
the point or substance of an argument, speech, etc
2.
(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
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Word Origin and History for gist
n.

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
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