Denotation vs. Connotation


[suhm] /sʌm/
the aggregate of two or more numbers, magnitudes, quantities, or particulars as determined by or as if by the mathematical process of addition:
The sum of 6 and 8 is 14.
a particular aggregate or total, especially with reference to money:
The expenses came to an enormous sum.
an indefinite amount or quantity, especially of money:
to lend small sums.
a series of numbers or quantities to be added up.
an arithmetical problem to be solved, or such a problem worked out and having the various steps shown.
the full amount, or the whole.
the substance or gist of a matter, comprehensively or broadly viewed or expressed:
the sum of his opinions.
concise or brief form:
in sum.
  1. the limit of the sequence of partial sums of a given infinite series.
  2. union (def 10a).
a summary.
verb (used with object), summed, summing.
to combine into an aggregate or total (often followed by up).
to ascertain the sum of, as by addition.
to bring into or contain in a small compass (often followed by up).
verb (used without object), summed, summing.
to amount (usually followed by to or into):
Their expenses summed into the thousands.
Verb phrases
sum up,
  1. to reckon:
    We summed up our assets and liabilities.
  2. to bring into or contain in a brief and comprehensive statement; summarize:
    to sum up the case for the prosecution.
  3. to form a quick estimate of:
    I summed him up in a minute.
Origin of sum
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English summe < Latin summa sum, noun use of feminine of summus highest, superlative of superus (see superior); (v.) Middle English summen (< Old French summer) < Medieval Latin summāre, derivative of summa
Related forms
sumless, adjective
sumlessness, noun
outsum, verb (used with object), outsummed, outsumming.
Can be confused
some, sum (see usage note at some)
1. See number. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for summed up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A little girl who met me on the country road recently summed up the characteristics of the blue beetle pretty well.

    Eye Spy William Hamilton Gibson
  • The sentiments of the egoist are summed up in the maxim, "After me the deluge!"

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • The most interesting news he was able to impart was summed up in the Proclamation he carried in his pocket.

  • In a sentence she summed up the long catalogue that had been given to him by her silence.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • This, together with the capture of Detroit, summed up the amount of our successes on land for the year.

British Dictionary definitions for summed up


  1. the result of the addition of numbers, quantities, objects, etc
  2. the cardinality of the union of disjoint sets whose cardinalities are the given numbers
one or more columns or rows of numbers to be added, subtracted, multiplied, or divided
(maths) the limit of a series of sums of the first n terms of a converging infinite series as n tends to infinity
(pl) another name for number work
a quantity, esp of money: he borrows enormous sums
the essence or gist of a matter (esp in the phrases in sum, in sum and substance)
a less common word for summary
(archaic) the summit or maximum
(modifier) complete or final (esp in the phrase sum total)
verb sums, summing, summed
(often foll by up) to add or form a total of (something)
(transitive) to calculate the sum of (the terms in a sequence)
See also sum up
Word Origin
C13 summe, from Old French, from Latin summa the top, sum, from summus highest, from superus in a higher position; see super


noun (pl) sumy (sʊmɪ)
the standard monetary unit of Uzbekistan, divided into 100 tiyin
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 summed up



late 13c., "quantity or amount of money," from Anglo-French and Old French summe (13c.), from Latin summa "total number, whole, essence, gist," noun use of fem. of summus "highest," from PIE *sup-mos-, from root *uper "over" (see super-).

The sense development from "highest" to "total number" is probably via the Roman custom of adding up a stack of figures from the bottom and writing the sum at the top, rather than at the bottom as we do now (cf. the bottom line). Meaning "total number of anything" is recorded from late 14c. Meaning "essence of a writing or speech" also is attested from late 14c. The verb is attested from c.1300; meaning "briefly state the substance of" (now usually with up) is first recorded 1620s. Sum-total is attested from late 14c., from Medieval Latin summa totalis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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summed up in Science
The result of adding numbers or quantities. The sum of 6 and 9, for example, is 15, and the sum of 4x and 5x is 9x.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Related Abbreviations for summed up


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The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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