GIST (was: Linguist)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 7 04:04:53 UTC 2011

There is an interesting 2006 message from Ben Zimmer in the list
archive about gist as a verb. He located a 1949 citation and several
other examples. Here is a link to the post and an excerpt:

Subject:        gist, v. (1949)
From:   Benjamin Zimmer <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:       American Dialect Society <[log in to unmask]>
Date:   Fri, 3 Feb 2006 01:51:42 -0500

I recently wrote about a Language Log entry that mentions the use of
the term "gisting" in machine translation:

All the major dictionaries fail to give the gist of "gisting". But the
cites below show that the verb "gist" has long been used in a variety
of fields, including language instruction, literary studies, and
intelligence analysis.

* gist, v. 'summarize, abstract the gist of'

1949 Clifford E. Erickson _A Practical Handbook for School Counselors_
25  It will be helpful if the counselor will follow a regular practice
of "gisting" these data and summarizing the information which
indicates the ways in which indicates the ways in which the pupil
differs and the outstanding characteristics of the pupil.

On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 2:31 PM, Brian Hitchcock <brianhi at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Brian Hitchcock <brianhi at SKECHERS.COM>
> Subject:      GIST (was: Linguist)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I noticed that the description of the military job "linguist" included GIST
> as a verb (presumably, to extract the gist of [something]?).
> I had not seen it used that way, and don't see that usage listed in
> dictionaries I have handy.  Comments?
> Brian Hitchcock
> Manhattan Beach, CA
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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