• Noun
  • an amount of money
    1. They spent large/considerable sums (of money) repairing the house.
    2. We donated a small sum (of money) to the charity.
    3. The sellers were asking for a modest sum.
    4. I paid the sum of $500.
  • the result of adding two or more numbers together
    1. The sum of 5 and 7 is 12.
  • a simple problem in mathematics
    1. schoolchildren doing sums
  • the whole amount of something
    1. Working odd summer jobs has been the sum of my experience so far. [=has been all the experience I've had so far]
  • as a brief statement of the most important information in a piece of writing or speech
    1. In sum [=in summary], we need a better public health-care system.
  • in a few words
    1. The movie was, in sum [=in short], entertaining as well as educational.
  • the general or basic meaning of something said or written
    1. What is the sum and substance [=gist] of the argument?
  • Verb
  • to tell (information) again using fewer words
    1. I would like to take a moment to sum up the facts that I presented earlier.
    2. She sums up the main arguments of the essay in the final paragraph.
    3. The judge summed up the evidence in his speech to the jury.
    4. To sum up, we need a better public health-care system.
  • to describe or show the most important parts or qualities of (someone or something) in a brief or simple way
    1. The article nicely sums up her career.
    2. That picture sums him up perfectly. [=that picture perfectly shows what kind of person he is]
  • to describe (someone or something) using few words
    1. The solution to the landfill problem can be summed up in one word: recycling.
    2. The word “lazy” sums him up pretty well.
    3. “So, you don't want to go because you think it will be boring?” “That just about sums it up.”