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Pith and gist show as up synonyms on many of the dictionaries. But the gist word is used more often and pith is very rarely used in examples. Can somebody clear me the right usage of both these words.

He watched the trailer but he still did not get the gist of the movie. Can we replace the gist in the above sentece with pith ?

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  • I only vaguely know what "pith" means, and I suspect this is true for many US English speakers. To the extent that I do understand "pith" I would not consider it to be a synonym for the idiomatic use of "gist".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 17:33
  • @HotLicks Pith is mentioned as essence or the heart of something. Gist is a quick summary of the essentials. Do you think this is right? Commented May 7, 2019 at 17:37
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    Depends on your context. And what precisely you mean.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 17:42
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    If he did not get the "pith" of the movie, he did not comprehend it's "heart" -- the underlying emotional meaning. If he did not get the "gist" of the movie he didn't comprehend it's plot, or perhaps he missed the point that it was a parody or allegory of some sort.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 17:46
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    @Cascabel - Now you got me pithed!!
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 23:52

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If he did not get the "pith" of the movie, he did not comprehend it's "heart" -- the underlying emotional meaning. If he did not get the "gist" of the movie he didn't comprehend it's plot, or perhaps he missed the point that it was a parody or allegory of some sort.

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