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Gist vs jest

  • Gist and jest are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables gist and jest, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

     

    Gist is the meat of something. The gist is the essence of something or the point of something. The word gist is derived from the French word, gesir, which means to lie. Gist is sometimes misspelled as jist.

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    Jest means to joke or tease. Jest is used a a noun and as an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are jests, jested, jesting, jester. A jester is a historical comedian, a person who acts the fool for a sovereign. Jester is occasionally used today to mean someone who acts the fool. Traditionally, a jester wore a cap with bells attached and carried a faux scepter. The word jest is derived from the Latin word, gesta, which means a telling of heroic deeds.

    Examples

    “They don’t get the gist of everything, so there has been a lot of explaining,” Sumrina said Thursday, as patients filed in and out of the mosque for vaccination. (Hartford Courant)

    The gist of the matter is that for the most significant risks, they sometimes do not come through the front door. (Fintech Times)

    He told the FBI that Steele mischaracterized at least one of his Russian source contacts and noted much of what he gave to Steele was “word of mouth and hearsay,” some of which stemmed from a “conversation that [he] had with friends over beers,” and the most salacious allegations may have been made in “jest.” (Washington Examiner)

    “See, you dance and you sing and then get embarrassed, just like your mama,” Kim sweetly jested with her daughter. (Hello! Magazine)


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