a. An amount obtained as a result of adding numbers.
b. An arithmetic problem: a child good at sums.
2. The whole amount, quantity, or number; an aggregate: the sum of the team's combined experience.
3. An amount of money: paid an enormous sum.
4. A summary: my view of the world, in sum.
5. The central idea or point; the gist.
tr.v. summed, sum·ming, sumsPhrasal Verb:
1. Mathematics To add.
2. To give a summary of; summarize.
1. To present the substance of (material) in a condensed form; summarize: sum up the day's news; concluded the lecture by summing up.
2. To describe or assess concisely: an epithet that sums up my feelings.
[Middle English summe, from Old French, from Latin summa, from feminine of summus, highest; see uper in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.