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more/bigger/greater than the sum of its parts

Describes something made up of a large collection of things or people in which the total unit is more important, impressive, successful, etc., than its components are individually. America is certainly bigger than the sum of its parts. The global social networking site, so intrinsically connected to and supported by users, is certainly more than just the sum of its parts.
See also: big, greater, more, of, part, sum

sum and substance

a summary; the gist. Can you quickly tell me the sum and substance of your proposal? In trying to explain the sum and substance of the essay, Thomas failed to mention the middle name of the hero.
See also: and, substance, sum

sum (something) up

to give a summary of something. I would like to sum this lecture up by listing the main points I have covered. It is time for me to sum up. She summed up the president's speech in three sentences.
See also: sum, up

sum up (something)

also sum something up
to give a brief but complete statement The last paragraph should sum up the main points of your argument. He's a small man with a big ego - that about sums him up. To sum up, Eleanor has promised to revise the designs, and Bernard will finalize the text.
See also: sum, up

in sum

See: in summary
See also: sum

in summary

(slightly formal) also in sum
briefly In summary, this book is a good introduction to bird watching.

a zero-sum game

a situation where two people compete and if one of them wins anything, exactly the same must be lost by the other Radio has become a zero-sum game, with stations gaining listeners only at each other's expense.
See also: game

sum and substance

The essence or gist of something, as in The sum and substance of their platform is financial conservatism. This redundant expression-both sum and substance here mean "essence"-has probably survived owing to alliteration. Shakespeare used it in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (4:1): "My riches are these poor habiliments [clothes], Of which if you should here disfurnish me, You take the sum and substance that I have."
See also: and, substance, sum

sum total

The entirety, everything, as in I spent all day in the kitchen and the sum total of my efforts is this cake. [Mid-1600s]
See also: sum, total

sum up

Present the substance of, summarize, as in They always sum up the important news in a couple of minutes, or That expletive sums up my feelings about the matter. [Early 1600s]
See also: sum, up

sum up

v.
1. To present the substance of something in a condensed form; summarize something: At the end of the radio program, they sum up the day's news. Here's what I learned—I'll sum it up for you. At the end of the lecture, the professor summed up.
2. To describe or assess something concisely: This poem sums up my feelings perfectly.
3. To add some set of numbers together: The teacher challenged the students to sum up the numbers from 1 to 100 as fast as possible. I wrote down all of our expenses for the week and summed them up.
4. To calculate something, especially by addition: We need to sum up our total costs for this trip. I'm sure this answer is correct—I summed it up myself.
See also: sum, up
References in classic literature ?
When we no longer look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as at something wholly beyond his comprehension; when we regard every production of nature as one which has had a history; when we contemplate every complex structure and instinct as the summing up of many contrivances, each useful to the possessor, nearly in the same way as when we look at any great mechanical invention as the summing up of the labour, the experience, the reason, and even the blunders of numerous workmen; when we thus view each organic being, how far more interesting, I speak from experience, will the study of natural history become!
I thought he was no more than summing up his catastrophes so as to get violent with good excuse, as men will do, and I tried to make him understand such things was trifles.
One day, however, Monsieur Stangerson, as he was leaving the Academy of Science, announced that the marriage of his daughter and Monsieur Robert Darzac would be celebrated in the privacy of the Chateau du Glandier, as soon as he and his daughter had put the finishing touches to their report summing up their labours on the "Dissociation of Matter.
It seems to me they're taking stock of me and summing me up.
It seemed to him that something inexpressibly momentous was in progress within the room, that every word and every gesture had the importance of events preordained from the beginning of all things, and summing up in their finality the whole purpose of creation.
It was more of a feeling, the summing up of slight impressions aided by the discovery that he could not despise her as he despised all the others.