sum and substance


Also found in: Legal.

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

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 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