Definition of summary in US English:

summary

noun

  • A brief statement or account of the main points of something.

    ‘a summary of Chapter Three’
    • ‘His summaries of the world's problems are so well put that one feels they have been solved merely by virtue of the fact that he has described them.’
    • ‘The result of your search will bring up a list of job summaries and links to full job descriptions.’
    • ‘At the time of the inquiry the families had been supplied with summaries of both witness statements and other material used in evidence.’
    • ‘I think secondhand accounts or summaries can be very useful simply because they allow us a quick grasp on a subject.’
    • ‘Yahoo and Lycos have posted excellent summaries of the top searches of 2003.’
    • ‘You may remember that The Register used to run reader surveys online and publish summaries.’
    • ‘Hence our preference for brief, readable letters supplemented with pictures and summaries of responses.’
    • ‘Then there is the additional problem that many of us only see brief summaries of these reports in the press.’
    • ‘These have further information, plot summaries, reviews, pictures, and other good stuff.’
    • ‘For those of you not familiar with the candidates and their parties, I've made quick summaries for you.’
    • ‘The system allows managers to view employees' annual holiday summaries and absence summaries at a glance.’
    • ‘Clinical Evidence is a compendium of summaries of the best available evidence about what works and what doesn't work in health care.’
    • ‘Daily summaries were compiled into weekly summaries and then monthly summaries.’
    • ‘The summaries are brief, focussed and numbered for easy identification.’
    • ‘Even casual readers may benefit from the sectional summaries or recapitulations in the book.’
    • ‘Table 1 shows descriptive summaries of variables common to both trials for both groups in each trial.’
    • ‘Succinct summaries describe the structural features and relate other minerals to the one being viewed.’
    • ‘As stated above, this brief list and the following summaries do not pretend to be complete.’
    • ‘This is a nicely delivered and nuanced talk - much more so than this cursory summary suggests.’
    • ‘Moreover, it demonstrates that they have not studied the full Audit Commission report, but rely on potted summaries.’
    synopsis, precis, résumé, abstract, abridgement, digest, compendium, condensation, encapsulation, abbreviated version
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adjective

  • 1Dispensing with needless details or formalities; brief.

    ‘summary financial statements’
    • ‘I'll present excerpts from our discussion in abbreviated, summary format below.’
    • ‘The summary graph, on page 35, reproduced here, does indeed show Scotland at the low end of the spectrum of business tax revenues.’
    • ‘A further difficulty is that, in Mill's summary statement of the method, all circumstances are on a par.’
    • ‘It began with a reminder of the history of our two families, in Ghana and in England, his summary account of who we were.’
    • ‘I take into account the summary allegations at paragraph 16 of the skeleton argument.’
    • ‘Attach supporting documentation and details behind the summary page for information.’
    • ‘Offer a brief summary answer, links to threads, and outside material.’
    • ‘Alluding to the evidentialist objection as often as he does, Plantinga naturally makes use of summary statements of it.’
    • ‘If the service provider only provides a summary bill with no call detail, pay the extra fee to get the detailed billing.’
    • ‘Because of its extreme brevity, it has been used both as a summary statement of Mahyna truth, and as a liturgical and ritual text.’
    • ‘In spite of its brevity, it is the most comprehensive summary listing that I have seen in print.’
    • ‘The Committee may, however, decide to include a summary account of the results in its annual report.’
    • ‘In addition, short summary statements can be used to denote events, personal strengths, and so on.’
    • ‘The two sides also prepared separate summary statements on the talks held Thursday and Friday in central Tokyo, he said.’
    • ‘I suppose they were expecting to find a summary statement they could just pass along.’
    • ‘As summary statements, part of their rationale is to provide a key to the linkages between different articles.’
    • ‘In the following sections I give a summary account of them.’
    • ‘I leave it to your Lordship whether you have summary assessment or detailed assessment.’
    • ‘Full details of the analytical results from which the summary tables presented in this section are derived are available on request from the authors.’
    • ‘It also has summary statements for profit and loss, balance sheets and cash flow.’
    abridged, abbreviated, shortened, condensed, concise, succinct, thumbnail, compact, terse, short, compressed, cursory, compendious, synoptic
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  • 2Law
    (of a judicial process) conducted without the customary legal formalities.

    ‘summary arrest’
    • ‘Gun law, robbery, summary execution and internecine fighting have become the disorder of the day.’
    • ‘They have the power of summary arrest and extradition, in spite of existing British laws, which specifically prohibit such action.’
    • ‘Refusal to carry out an order resulted in summary execution.’
    • ‘The Soviets executed soldiers on an infinitely greater scale, either after due process or as summary military punishment.’
    • ‘It also shows that copyright holders and their supporters will lean on the police to dispense summary punishment through judicial seizure.’
    immediate, instant, instantaneous, on-the-spot, direct, forthwith, prompt
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    1. 2.1 (of a conviction) made by a judge or magistrate without a jury.
      • ‘Solicitors are also aggrieved that the six public defenders employed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board are now able to take cases in summary proceedings involving a sheriff and a jury.’
      • ‘It retains its character as an indictable offence and it is not a summary conviction before a Court of Petty Sessions.’
      • ‘The Crown will proceed by summary conviction, which means there will be no preliminary hearing and the trial will be by judge alone.’
      • ‘In those circumstances it would be correct for the judge to remove the issue from the jury and grant summary judgment.’
      • ‘However, he acknowledged that Judge Neilan had a legitimate complaint to question unduly lenient sentences being imposed in summary cases.’

Phrases

  • in summary

    • In short.

      ‘in summary, there is no clear case for one tax system compared to another’
      • ‘There was a full written report to members well over an A4 sheet giving in some detail all the conservation and listed building issues, and objectors comments in summary.’
      • ‘The Times repeats, in summary, Said's false autobiography, as though it were factual.’
      • ‘They've taken that away now, just telling me in summary how many clicks per day, and not telling me what people have clicked on.’
      • ‘So in summary, the criminals who started this are making more money than you could possibly imagine - the market of naive people is a big one, so you have to admire them in that respect.’
      • ‘So, in summary, my experience of Orlistat is heavily balanced on the benefit side of the scale and, given a sensible, disciplined approach to the whole problem of obesity, it has helped.’
      • ‘The narrative sounds bleak in summary; there's no happy ending, and there are some grim, sudden bursts of violence.’
      • ‘So, in summary, the food we eat has changed immensely since the days when our dinner would have consisted of meat and two veg and is certainly much more diverse than the Ulster Fry.’
      • ‘So in summary, a work is art as long as it has a theme that embodies a message or concept, with representational elements selected to portray that theme.’
      • ‘He also expressed doubt that the 1500 scientists whose data Scott had compiled and presented in summary was to be relied upon or taken into account.’
      • ‘So, in summary, rent 6 months in advance of the peak winter season and at least 3 months in advance of the busy summer season.’
      to put it briefly, to be brief, briefly, in short, in a nutshell, succinctly, concisely, to come to the point, to cut a long story short, not to mince words, not to beat about the bush, not to put too fine a point on it
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Origin

Late Middle English (as an adjective): from Latin summarius, from summa ‘sum total’ (see sum).

Pronunciation

summary

/ˈsəmərē//ˈsəməri/