The gist of the lawyer's argument was that the law was unfair to women.2. Etymology: "the real point" (of a law case, etc.), from Anglo-French legalese phrases; especially, cest action gist, "this action lies", meaning "this case is not sustainable by law", from Old French gist en, "it consists in, it lies in", from Latin jaceo, jacere, "to lie" and jacet, "it lies".
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2. Something that can be used to one's advantage: As a writer, Pete's friend, Trina, regards her difficult childhood experiences as grist for the mill; that is, she considers such experiences as examples which she can use in her novel.
The gist of the story involved the difficult experience that the farmer had when he tried to deliver the grist for milling.
This is not a story that should be told in jest because it is related to the farmer's precarious livelihood.