sum and substance

the sum and substance

The central or most important idea, aspect, or part of something; the essence or summary of something. We don't have much time for this board meeting, so let's just get to the sum and substance straight away. The sum and substance of her argument is that a redistribution of wealth would spur the economy into huge gains.
See also: and, substance, sum
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.

sum and substance

The total essence of a matter. The sum in this cliché is not really necessary—substance covers the meaning quite well—but the appealing alliteration is probably what helped it survive. Shakespeare used it in Two Gentlemen of Verona (4.1), “My riches are these poor habiliments Of which, if you should disfurnish me, you take the sum and substance that I have.”
See also: and, substance, sum
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
That's the sum and substance of a good agency compensation program.