Understanding the Gist of the Matter
I’ve begun to notice the misuse of “just” for gist in the expression “gist of the matter.” Admittedly, many of the occurrences appear in informal comments at the end of blogs and articles, but I’ve also found examples in formal pieces written by writers who should know better.
I think I got the just of the matter. Though I also suspect that I missed a few points…
The just of the matter is that it isn’t Christ that fell short, when you mess up, it is you.
I think that [it] is very hard to please men…The just of the matter is, either they like you or they don’t.
The just of the matter is, whenever you hear something about biofuels and biorefining, keep an open mind and never assume that what you’ve heard about it in the past applies now.
1. Law. The real ground or point (of an action, indictment, etc.).
2. The substance or pith of a matter, the essence or main part.
The noun gist in “the gist of the matter,” derives from Anglo-French legal phrases that included the word gist in the sense of the verb “lies.”; for example, cest action gist, literally, “this action lies,” from French gésir, “to lie,” from Latin jacet, “it lies.” The meaning of “this action lies” was “this case is sustainable by law.”
Other ways to say “the gist of the matter” are:
the heart of the matter
the most essential thing to know or remember
the main point
Here are some examples of the correct use of gist on the web:
Sometimes we crunch data and painstakingly calculate choices and positions, and sometimes we rapidly and automatically seize on the essence, the simple value, the gist of the matter.
The gist of the matter can be found on Lisa’s post, as well as a rather lengthy discussion
Microcontent: Sometimes You Just Need the Gist
We now come to the gist of the matter.
That, in our opinion, is what the real gist of Lenin’s thesis on the identity…of dialectics…[is].
I found a business podcast called “The Gist of the Matter.” There’s also a web application called Gist. It analyzes email and “summarizes the content based on perceived importance sorted by time, people, attachments, communication frequency, or companies.”
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