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1. To calculate the sum or total of multiple items. Can you add up these numbers? I'm worried I made an error in my calculations.
2. To equal the expected or presumed amount. These numbers just aren't adding up—I think I made a mistake somewhere.
3. To be logical or believable. I listened to Jill's explanation, but I'm still skeptical—something just doesn't add up.
4. To become a significant amount. Usually used in reference to increasing expenses. With all of the driving I do for work, the cost of gas and maintenance really starts to add up. It will take a while for you to become a master, but all this practice really does add up.
5. To judge someone or something As I waited for my interview to start, I studied the other candidates and added up my competition.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
add something up
to sum or total a set of figures. (See also add up (to something).) Please add these figures up again. I didn't add up these figures!
add up(to something)
1. Lit. [for a set of figures] to equal a total. These figures don't add up to the right total!
2. Fig. [for facts or explanations] to make sense. (Considering facts as if they were figures.) Your explanation just doesn't add up!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Amount to an expected or correct total, as in These figures don't add up, meaning they are not correct. [Mid-1800s]
2. Be consistent, make sense, as in I'm not sure that all this testimony will add up. [First half of 1900s]
3. Assess, form an opinion of, as in He looked across the track and added up the competition. Also see add up to.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To calculate a sum by adding some set of numbers: The students added up the numbers they had copied from the blackboard. If you add all the scores up, we'll find out who won.
2. To calculate something, especially by addition: The shopkeeper added up the day's profits.
3. To amount to an expected total: Unfortunately, when we put the numbers into the equation, they did not add up.
4. To be reasonable, plausible, or consistent; make sense: The jury did not believe the witness's testimony because it simply did not add up.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.