Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: summe, from Latin summa, from summus 'highest'


1 noun
sum1 S3 W2 [countable]


an amount of money:
He owes me a large sum of money.
sum of
the sum of £4000
large/substantial/considerable etc sum
Bill wants to spend a large sum on modernizing the farm.
for a large/small etc sum
We should be happy to buy it for a modest sum.
lump sum

➔ princely sum

at princely (1)

the sum of something

HM the total produced when you add two or more numbers or amounts together:
You will have to pay the sum of the two sets of costs.

greater/more/better etc than the sum of its parts

having a quality or effectiveness as a group that you would not expect from the quality of each member:
The team is greater than the sum of its parts.


HM a simple calculation by adding, multiplying, dividing etc, especially one done by children at school

do your sums

informal British English to calculate whether you have enough money to do something:
Do your sums first before you decide how much to spend.

in sum

formal used before a statement that gives the main information about something in a few simple words:
In sum, soul music is important to the record industry.

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