Gist Of It – Meaning, Origin & Usage (10+ Examples)

Learning common phrases and sayings in English can be the gateway from a confident learner to a gifted natural speaker. You’ll see huge improvements in your language skills if you can grasp sayings early. Let’s talk through the gist of it meaning (it can’t hurt to know how to use it, either).

What Is The Meaning Of “Gist Of It”?

“Gist of it” means that something is being portrayed to us. “Gist” means the main point or the essence. So, if someone is asking if you’ve got the “gist of it,” they’re asking if you’ve understood the main points of something they’re trying to explain. It’s often said as a way to clarify you’re on the same page, even if you haven’t quite understood everything that they’ve said up until that point.

It’s a fairly common saying in both American and British English and is present across many scenarios. You can hear it in a business (like in a meeting) when a colleague or boss asks you if you’ve got the “gist” of the business plan they presented. You can hear it in schools; if a teacher asks if you’ve understood the “gist” of the new thing they’re explaining. You can even say it among friends when you’re talking about life stories or events.

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Origin Of “Gist Of It”

“Gist of it” is a saying that’s been around for a long time. The word “gist” originates from the Latin word “jacere” and the Old French “gesir,” which means “to lie.” Now, it’s transitioning into a word that means “the essence of” or “the main point.” If someone asks you if you’ve got the “gist of it,” then they’re asking if you’ve understood the main points they’re putting in front of you.

Typically, when people saying “gist of it,” they’ll either directly follow the saying with a summary of the main points they want you to pick up, or they’ll have directly asked after laying down all the main points if you’ve caught the “gist of it.” It’s just a way to clarify with someone whether they understand you. It’s good to know because if they’re not fully understanding, then you might be wasting your time explaining further.

Instead of losing them, you can ask them quickly with the phrase “gist of it.” It’s short and to the point. Rather than giving a long-winded sentence or saying that might ask if they’re understanding, you can instead ask if they’ve understood the “gist of it.” Try it for yourself next time you’re explaining something and see how well it works for you.

10 Examples Of How To Use “Gist Of It.”

Now that we’ve covered when you should use the saying let’s look at how we can use it in examples. We find that the best way to learn anything people are teaching you about a new language is to see the words in action. That’s made even more useful when the words in question are part of a particular saying that needs a particular setting to use it. So, let’s see how we can use the “gist of it” and get you prepped for some language learning.

  • Well, that’s the gist of it. I hope you understand.
  • I got the gist of it, so you don’t need to explain more.
  • Do you get the gist of it, or not?
  • I need some helping understanding the gist of it.
  • What’s the gist of it?
  • So, that’s the gist of it. Any questions?
  • I get the gist of it, but why does it help me?
  • The gist of it makes sense to me.
  • That’s the gist of it.
  • I can’t give you more than the gist of it.

We can see how the “gist of it” is used in all of these examples. You’ll notice how, in each one, questions are asked, or some contextual clues are given that might suggest further explanations are needed. Typically, when these questions are asked, they’re not asking for the main point to be summarized again because the “gist” has already covered that. Instead, they’re asking for the smaller parts surrounding the main points to help bolster their understanding.

Typically, further explanation always follows the line “gist of it,” especially in a business meeting where more security in explanation is needed. The “gist” doesn’t have to mean they fully understand what is said. Instead, it can just mean that they understand most of the important stuff but still need further clarification later down the line. Whether the conversation continues from there to explain more is up to the people involved in it.

“Gist Of It” Synonyms

We’re almost done with our explanation of the gist of it meaning. We’ve covered what it means and where it came from, but there’s one more thing we want to talk about! One of the most exciting things about the English language is its versatility. You can always find some other word or phrase to say in place of a saying you’re not comfortable with. The saying “gist of it” is no different. There are plenty of alternatives available to you if you want them.

Whether you’re not comfortable using the saying yourself or want some more ideas for ways you could say the same thing, we’ve got you covered. Check out these alternatives and see which ones work best for you!

  • Do you understand?

This is a simple question that asks the same question of whether more explanation is needed. If no more explanation is needed, the replied can say that they understand and the main point (“gist”) is covered.

  • That’s the general idea.

This is a good way to say “gist of it” without saying the original saying. Instead, you’re saying the general ideas and main point were covered but can be explained further if needed.

  • Let me know if you need more explanation.

An open sentence that allows people to ask for help if they need further clarification.

  • That’s about it.

An informal saying that says the main bases and points have been covered.

  • I covered all I need to.

One last saying that again says all the main points are covered but allows anyone to ask further questions.