‘Jist' or 'Gist': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on December 5, 2022

'Jist' or 'gist'? Two spellings for the same word. Which of the two should you use? That's what we'll cover in today's article.

In short, 'gist' is the correct spelling of the word. 'Jist' is incorrect; the word does not exist.

Definition of 'Gist'

The word 'gist' comes from old Anglo-French legal phrases such as "cest action gist," which means "where the action lies." That original meaning has carried through to modern times as one of the word's definitions is the grounds for legal action.

The more commonly known definition of the word, however, is "the bottom line." This, in a way, is similar to the legal meaning. In both cases, the word 'gist' refers to the main point or source of the issue.

'Jist' or 'Gist': Which is Correct?

The only correct spelling for the word is 'gist.' 'Jist' is a misspelling of the same word.

One possible reason for the confusion is that the letter 'g' is often pronounced \g\, as in 'garage,' whereas the letter 'j' is pronounced \j\, as in 'juice.' Since the word 'gist' uses \j\ as its beginning sound, this might tempt you to spell the word with a 'j.'

But there are plenty of examples of other words that begin with 'g' and also use the \j\ sound. For example:

  • gym
  • gentle
  • giant

And 'gist' is no different.

Top tip! Some words are spelled differently but pronounced the same, like 'weather' and 'whether.' Those are called homophones. 'Gist' and 'jist' are not examples of homophones since the word 'jist' simply does not exist.

How to Use 'Gist' in a Sentence

Now that we're clear on whether or not you should use 'jist' or 'gist' (it's 'gist') and the word's meaning, let's look at some examples of sentences. This should help deepen your understanding of the word.

We've been on the topic for hours; can we get to the gist of the issue?

I'm dying to hear what happened! Can we just get to the gist of it?

It was a very long report, the gist of which was that we need to start automating our processes.

I was a little awkward this morning, but the gist of what I was trying to say is that I'm sorry for your loss.

What's the gist of the action against my client?

We're bringing in David, so you guys will need to fill him in on the case so far. We don't have much time, so give him the gist of it for now.

I was glad to hear that we're doing well in terms of performance, but I didn't quite get the gist of the meeting.

Arson is the gist of the legal action against the plaintiff.

His speech didn't make much sense; he waffled a lot. But I think I got the gist of it.

We can't carry on this way. Do you get my gist?

Bear with me; I will get to the gist in just a moment.

Concluding Thoughts On 'Jist' or 'Gist'

To summarize, 'jist' isn't a word, and 'gist' is the only correct spelling. The gist of something is the bottom line.

If you want to learn about more confusing words, head to our blog.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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