Meaning of TOTAL in English

I. to ‧ tal 1 S1 W1 /ˈtəʊtl $ ˈtoʊ-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Medieval Latin totalis , from Latin totus 'whole' ]

1 . [usually before noun] complete, or as great as is possible

total failure/disaster

The sales campaign was a total disaster.

a total ban on cigarette advertising

He looked at her with a total lack of comprehension.

a sport that demands total commitment

2 . total number/amount/cost etc the number, amount etc that is the total:

total sales of 200,000 per year

Her total income was £10,000 a year.

II. total 2 S2 W2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

1 . the final number or amount of things, people etc when everything has been counted:

That’s £7 and £3.50, so the total is £10.50.

a total of 20/100 etc

A total of thirteen meetings were held to discuss the issue.

in total

There were probably about 40 people there in total.

the sum total (=the whole of an amount when everything is considered together)

2 . grand total

a) the final total, including all the totals added together ⇨ subtotal

b) used humorously when you think the final total is small:

I earned a grand total of $4.15.

• • •


■ verbs

▪ make a total of 100 etc

The £1,750 raised by staff has been matched by the company, making a total of £3,500.

▪ bring the total to 100 etc

Police arrested more than 200 protesters yesterday, bringing the total detained to nearly 500.

▪ add to a total

He wants to add to his total of three Olympic gold medals.

■ adjectives

▪ the final total

Mrs Menzies said the final total could be as much as £750.

▪ the sum total (=the whole of an amount, when everything is added together)

This was the sum total of her grandfather's possessions.

▪ a combined/overall total (=the sum of two or more amounts added together)

The Jones family has a combined total of 143 years' service with the company.

▪ an annual/monthly/weekly/daily total

The Government plans to increase the annual total of 2,500 adoptions by up to 50%.

III. total 3 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle totalled , present participle totalling British English , totaled , totaling American English )

1 . [linking verb, transitive] to reach a particular total:

The group had losses totalling $3 million this year.


Total is used especially in journalism. In everyday English, people usually say that something makes or adds up to a particular total:

Three and six make nine.

2 . [transitive] especially American English informal to damage a car so badly that it cannot be repaired:

Chuck totaled his dad’s new Toyota.

total something ↔ up phrasal verb

to find the total number or total amount of something by adding:

At the end of the game, total up everyone’s score to see who has won.

• • •


▪ calculate formal to find out an amount, price, or value by adding numbers together:

The students calculated the cost of printing 5000 copies of their book.

▪ work out to calculate something. Work out is less formal than calculate , and is more common in everyday English:

You need to work out how much you will need to borrow.

▪ figure out ( also figure American English ) informal to calculate an amount:

We still haven't figured out how much it's all going to cost.


the method for figuring welfare payments

▪ count to find out the total number of things or people in a group by looking at each one and adding them all together:

The teacher counted the children as they got on the bus.

▪ total ( also total up ) to add a number of things together to get a final number:

Once the scores have been totaled, we will announce the winner.


Okay, now let's total up who had the most points.

▪ quantify formal to say how much something costs, how much of it there is, how serious or effective it is etc:

I think it's difficult to quantify the cost at the moment, for a variety of reasons.


How do you quantify the benefits of the treatment?


a reliable method for quantifying the amount of calcium in the blood

▪ assess formal to calculate what the value or cost of something is, or decide how good, bad etc something is:

The value of the paintings was assessed at $20 million.


They are still assessing the damage.


We need to have a better way of assessing students' progress.

▪ estimate to guess an amount, price, or number as exactly as you can, based on the knowledge you have:

The police department estimates that the number of violent crimes will decrease by 2%.

▪ put a figure on something to say what you think the exact total amount or value of something is, especially when it is a lot:

It's hard to put a figure on it, but the final cost is likely to be over £225 million.


The company has refused to put a figure on its losses.

▪ project to calculate what an amount will be in the future, using the information you have now:

The company projects sales of $4 million this year.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.