Meaning of SUM in English


I. ˈsəm noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English summe, somme, from Old French, from Latin summa, from feminine of summus highest, topmost; akin to Latin super over — more at over


a. : an indefinite or specified amount of money

received occasional sums of money

a sum of fifty dollars

are paid only a nominal sum for their services — F.A.Ogg & P.O.Ray

if all sums for armaments were used to build libraries — Alfred Stefferud

b. archaic : a quantity of goods having a set value

taxes assessed in sums of tobacco


a. : the whole amount : an existent total

duty to maintain and preserve the sum of human knowledge — H.J.J.Winter

b. : an aggregate of distinct usually specified things : a discrete whole

history is not merely a sum of events

possessed of such various talents in the arts … as in their sum to approach genius — Osbert Sitwell

3. : the ultimate end : the utmost degree : height , summit

reached the sum of human bliss

saw the war … as the very crown and sum of human folly — Rose Macaulay


a. : a summary of the chief points or thoughts : epitome , summation

the sum of this criticism follows — C.W.Hendel

b. : the main or essential point : gist

the sum of the evidence

attempting to convey the sum of the book in a short phrase or sentence — J.E.Miller

5. obsolete : numeral ; especially : integer



(1) : the aggregate of two or more numbers, magnitudes, quantities, or particulars : the result of performing an addition

the sum of 5 and 7 is 12

(2) : the limit of the sum of the first n terms of an infinite series as n increases indefinitely

b. : numbers to be added : a column of figures : a problem in arithmetic — often used with do

a child trying to do a difficult sum in mental arithmetic — C.D.Lewis

c. sums plural : arithmetic especially as a school subject

singing is quite as important in education as sums, spelling, or writing — George Sampson

d. : the result of logical addition or alternation


amount , aggregate , total , whole , number , quantity : sum may indicate the result of simple addition

the sum of two and three

and usually applies to simple obvious putting together of things

a personality is never a mere sum of traits and cannot be explained by the most complete inventory — H.J.Muller

amount may be used of more accumulative or combinative processes

the amount of snow that we usually have in the northern United States — Richard Joseph

a considerable amount of business experience — C.W.Mitman

a considerable amount of unhappiness and poverty in his early youth — A.E.Wier

aggregate may stress the notion of separate distinct individuals or discrete particulars grouped together

these larger aggregates, the enlarged family, ingroup, the tribe, the clan — Abram Kardiner

not a logical unity, but an aggregate of notions of various origins — J.O.Evjen

total suggests completeness comprehending inclusiveness and perhaps magnitude of result

a large gold total, mostly through small, individual operations — American Guide Series: Washington

a total of one million casualties

whole may refer to a unified or integrated totality

society as a whole, acting through its laws, its schools, its publications — R.M.Weaver

the history as a whole is deficient on the economic side — Allen Johnson

number may suggest an aggregate of countable units, in contrast to amount , which is usually used with uncountables

the number of corpuscles in this amount of blood

the number of accounts involved in this amount of trade

quantity is broadly used in reference to anything, measurable but usually applies to what is measured in bulk

if pleasure be the sole good, the only possible criterion of pleasures is quantity of pleasure — Clive Bell

farm country that produces wheat, corn, vegetables and fruit as well as quantities of poultry and milk — American Guide Series: Maryland

a quantity of silvery-yellow hair — Elinor Wylie

large quantities of silt — W.H.Dowdeswell

- in sum

II. verb

( summed ; summed ; summing ; sums )

Etymology: Middle English summen, sommen, from Old French summer, sommer, from Medieval Latin summare, from Latin summa sum

transitive verb

1. : to ascertain the sum of : count or calculate the number, amount, or total of : add together : cast up

sum a column of figures

the costs … can rarely be set down in a neat row and summed — Harold Koontz & Cyril O'Donnell

this term is obtained by summing the numbers in the bottom left-hand corners of the boxes — Lester Guest

sum the cards on the tabulator — F.J.Gruenberger

2. : to sum up

the body of thought brought to America by the immigrant Puritans … may be summed in a phrase as Carolinian liberalism — V.L.Parrington

3. obsolete : to bring to consummation or perfection : make complete : reach the goal or full development of

there was the venture summed and satisfied — Christopher Marlowe

intransitive verb

1. : to reach a sum : amount — used with to or into

benefactions that sum into the thousands

2. : to do sums in arithmetic

III. abbreviation


[Latin sumat ]

let him take


[Latin sume, sumendus ]

take; to be taken


[Latin sumendum ]

must be taken

IV. noun

: union 1 herein

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.