From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Gist \Gist\ (j[i^]st), n. [OF. giste abode, lodgings, F.
   g[^i]te, fr. g['e]sir to lie, L. jac[=e]re, prop., to be
   thrown, hence, to lie, fr. jac[e^]re to throw. In the second
   sense fr. OF. gist, F. g[^i]t, 3d pers. sing. ind. of
   g['e]sir to lie, used in a proverb, F., c'est l[`a] que
   g[^i]t le li[`e]vre, it is there that the hare lies, i. e.,
   that is the point, the difficulty. See Jet a shooting
   forth, and cf. Agist, Joist, n., Gest a stage in
   1. A resting place. [Obs.]
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            These quails have their set gists; to wit, ordinary
            resting and baiting places.           --Holland.
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   2. The main point, as of a question; the point on which an
      action rests; the pith of a matter; as, the gist of a
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