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sum Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a quantity of money
    amount of money; amount; sum of money.
    • he borrowed a large sum
    • the amount he had in cash was insufficient
  2. noun a quantity obtained by the addition of a group of numbers
    total; amount.
  3. noun the final aggregate
    summation; sum total.
    • the sum of all our troubles did not equal the misery they suffered
  4. noun the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
    kernel; substance; center; centre; nitty-gritty; essence; meat; heart; pith; nub; heart and soul; core; inwardness; marrow; gist.
    • the gist of the prosecutor's argument
    • the heart and soul of the Republican Party
    • the nub of the story
  5. noun the whole amount
    aggregate; total; totality.
  6. noun a set containing all and only the members of two or more given sets
    union; join.
    • let C be the union of the sets A and B
  7. verb be a summary of
    summarize; summarise; sum up.
    • The abstract summarizes the main ideas in the paper
  8. verb determine the sum of
    tot up; add up; tally; tote up; tot; add; summate; total; sum up; add together.
    • Add all the people in this town to those of the neighboring town

Sum noun
OE. summe, somme, OF. sume, some, F. somme, L. summa, fr. summus highest, a superlative from sub under. See Sub-, and cf. Supreme.
  1. The aggregate of two or more numbers, magnitudes, quantities, or particulars; the amount or whole of any number of individuals or particulars added together; as, the sum of 5 and 7 is 12.
    Take ye the sum of all the congregation. Num. i. 2.
    Sum is now commonly applied to an aggregate of numbers, and number to an aggregate of persons or things.
  2. A quantity of money or currency; any amount, indefinitely; as, a sum of money; a small sum, or a large sum. "The sum of forty pound." Chaucer.
    With a great sum obtained I this freedom. Acts xxii. 28.
  3. The principal points or thoughts when viewed together; the amount; the substance; compendium; as, this is the sum of all the evidence in the case; this is the sum and substance of his objections.
  4. Height; completion; utmost degree.
    Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought My story to the sum of earthly bliss. Milton.
  5. (Arith.) A problem to be solved, or an example to be wrought out. Macaulay.
    A sum in arithmetic wherein a flaw discovered at a particular point is ipso facto fatal to the whole. Gladstone.
    A large sheet of paper . . . covered with long sums. Dickens.
Sum transitive verb
Cf. F. sommer, LL. summare.
imperfect & past participle Summed ; present participle & verbal noun Summing
  1. To bring together into one whole; to collect into one amount; to cast up, as a column of figures; to ascertain the totality of; -- usually with up.
    The mind doth value every moment, and then the hour doth rather sum up the moments, than divide the day. Bacon.
  2. To bring or collect into a small compass; to comprise in a few words; to condense; -- usually with up.
    "Go to the ant, thou sluggard," in few words sums up the moral of this fable. L'Estrange.
    He sums their virtues in himself alone. Dryden.
  3. (Falconry) To have (the feathers) full grown; to furnish with complete, or full-grown, plumage.
    But feathered soon and fledge They summed their pens [wings]. Milton.
    Syn. -- To cast up; collect; comprise; condense; comprehend; compute.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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