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[suhm-uh-ree] /ˈsʌm ə ri/
noun, plural summaries.
a comprehensive and usually brief abstract, recapitulation, or compendium of previously stated facts or statements.
brief and comprehensive; concise.
direct and prompt; unceremoniously fast:
to treat someone with summary dispatch.
(of legal proceedings, jurisdiction, etc.) conducted without, or exempt from, the various steps and delays of a formal trial.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin summārium, equivalent to summ(a) sum + -ārium -ary
Related forms
[suh-mair-i-nis] /səˈmɛər ɪ nɪs/ (Show IPA),
1. outline, précis. Summary, brief, digest, synopsis are terms for a short version of a longer work. A summary is a brief statement or restatement of main points, especially as a conclusion to a work: a summary of a chapter. A brief is a detailed outline, by heads and subheads, of a discourse (usually legal) to be completed: a brief for an argument. A digest is an abridgement of an article, book, etc., or an organized arrangement of material under heads and titles: a digest of a popular novel; a digest of Roman law. A synopsis is usually a compressed statement of the plot of a novel, play, etc.: a synopsis of Hamlet. 2. short, condensed, compact, succinct. 3. curt, terse, peremptory. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for summaries
  • The following summaries offer some quick highlights.
  • See their respective summaries of the situation here, here and here.
  • Without quoting two pages of study summaries it seems that there is actually no clear answer at this point.
  • Two new excellent summaries are particularly informative.
  • If you can spare a few more glances, tap a game for stats and summaries.
  • The reader shows summaries, and you can click through to a web view.
  • These images provoke aha moments far more often than typed or verbal summaries.
  • Turner says, waving a notebook filled with brief summaries of available but unpatented defense technology.
  • In the pages that follow you'll find summaries of all the conference events.
  • It is a beautifully-produced volume that is among the best summaries of dinosaur science presently available.
British Dictionary definitions for summaries


noun (pl) -maries
a brief account giving the main points of something
adjective (usually prenominal)
performed arbitrarily and quickly, without formality: a summary execution
(of legal proceedings) short and free from the complexities and delays of a full trial
summary jurisdiction, the right a court has to adjudicate immediately upon some matter arising during its proceedings
giving the gist or essence
Derived Forms
summarily, adverb
summariness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin summārium, from summasum1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for summaries



early 15c., from Medieval Latin summarius "of or pertaining to the sum or substance," from Latin summa "whole, gist" (see sum). Sense of "done promptly" is first found 1713. The noun meaning "a summary statement or account" is first recorded c.1500, from Latin summarium "an epitome, abstract, summary," from summa "totality, gist."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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