Is it *Jist or Gist? | Meaning & Correct Spelling

Gist is a noun meaning “essence” or “main idea.” It’s always preceded by the definite article “the” (you can’t say “a gist”). In legal contexts, gist is used to refer to the grounds of a legal action.

“Jist” is sometimes mistakenly used instead of gist. However, “jist” is not a real word and should be avoided.

Examples: Jist and gist in a sentence
  • I got the jist of the lecture.
  • I got the gist of the lecture.
  • What is the jist of the book?
  • What is the gist of the book?

Get the gist

Get the gist is an expression used to mean that someone understands the main point of something, even if they don’t get all the details. It’s almost always preceded by a pronoun indicating whom the expression refers to (e.g., “you get the gist”).

The expression is quite informal and should be avoided in contexts like academic writing.

Examples: Get the gist in a sentence
The book is full of obscure verbiage, but I think I get the gist.

Although the instructions are quite technical, for all intents and purposes, you get the gist.

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, common mistakes, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a synonym for “gist”?

Some synonyms and near synonyms of gist include:

  • Core
  • Essence
  • Quintessence
  • Substance
  • Summary
  • Thrust
What does “gist” mean?

Gist is a noun meaning “main point” or “essence.” It’s always preceded by the definite article the and is used in expressions like “get the gist” or “give me the gist.”

What does “the jist of it” mean?

The gist of it is an expression meaning “the main point of it.” “The jist of it” is sometimes mistakenly used instead of the gist of it, but it is a misspelling and should be avoided.

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.

1 comment

Eoghan Ryan
Eoghan Ryan (Scribbr Team)
November 19, 2022 at 8:35 PM

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