Definition of sum someone/something up in US English:

sum someone/something up

phrasal verb

  • Express a concise idea of the nature or character of a person or thing.

    ‘selfish—that summed her up’
    • ‘The guiding doctrine which ran through his thinking is summed up by the word ‘equality’.’
    • ‘Yet the political atmosphere in this once-feisty town can be summed up in one word: indifference.’
    • ‘Asked to describe Armenian music, Montreal singer Lousnak sums it up in a single word.’
    • ‘In large measure, the answer can be summed up with one word: media.’
    • ‘These characteristics can be summed up as elegance, if you want just one word, but their real character is drinkability.’
    • ‘But the reason Indian Idol outshines any other shows of the same kind can be summed up in one word: involvement.’
    • ‘When I asked him his thoughts on the subject he summed them up by describing his profession as ‘pigs at the trough’.’
    • ‘Predictably, Yanevski has proved to be a huge hit on the forum; the postings by most fans can be summed up in four words: ‘He is so cool!’’
    • ‘Asked to sum them up in one word, he suggests ‘pleasure-seeking’, which manifests itself in conspicuous enjoyment of food and drink and fashion, a sincere appreciation of the arts, and a relaxed attitude to sex.’
    • ‘Before I visited the Netherlands, all my images of this small country could be summed up in just four words which you probably have in your mind too: windmills, clogs, cheese and tulips.’
    • ‘The problem facing the abolitionists can be summed up in one word: sugar.’
    • ‘The most common measures can be summed up in one word - ‘RICE’ which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.’
    • ‘The Telegraph editorial summed it up with the words ‘Sanctimonious Claptrap’ and that is exactly what it was.’
    • ‘However, she hopes she would be more realistic than Ranevskaya, though she likes her character, summing her up as ‘complex, vulnerable, selfish, very flawed, hopefully charming but emotionally all over the shop’.’
    • ‘Today's reforms can be summed up in one word: freedom.’
    • ‘We have a few suggestions that might work and they can be summed up in one word: layering.’
    • ‘The difference between the two sides can be summed up in one word - talent.’
    • ‘In the Bible this faithfulness is summed up in the word covenant.’
    • ‘York's attitude to young people could be summed up in two words: whipper snappers.’
    • ‘Frankly, I think the biggest difference between the two can be summed up in one word: synthesizers.’
    evaluate, assess, appraise, value, rate, weigh up, gauge, judge, deem, adjudge, estimate, form an opinion of, form an impression of, make one's mind up about, get the measure of, form a judgement of, make something of
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