sum and substance

Idioms & Phrases

sum and substance

The essence or gist of something, as in The sum and substance of their platform is financial conservatism. This redundant expressionboth sum and substance here mean "essence"has probably survived owing to alliteration. Shakespeare used it in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (4:1): "My riches are these poor habiliments [clothes], Of which if you should here disfurnish me, You take the sum and substance that I have."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: suitcase
Next Definition: sum total
Words Near: sum and substance
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for sum and substance
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing sum and substance
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature