summary

adjective
sum·​ma·​ry | \ ˈsə-mə-rē also ˈsəm-rē or -ˌmer-ē How to pronounce summary (audio) \

Definition of summary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : comprehensive especially : covering the main points succinctly
2a : done without delay or formality : quickly executed a summary dismissal
b : of, relating to, or using a summary proceeding a summary trial

summary

noun
sum·​ma·​ry | \ ˈsə-mə-rē also ˈsəm-rē How to pronounce summary (audio) \
plural summaries

Definition of summary (Entry 2 of 2)

: an abstract, abridgment, or compendium especially of a preceding discourse

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from summary

Adjective

summarily \ (ˌ)sə-​ˈmer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce summarily (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for summary

Adjective

concise, terse, succinct, laconic, summary, pithy, compendious mean very brief in statement or expression. concise suggests the removal of all that is superfluous or elaborative. a concise description terse implies pointed conciseness. a terse reply succinct implies the greatest possible compression. a succinct letter of resignation laconic implies brevity to the point of seeming rude, indifferent, or mysterious. an aloof and laconic stranger summary suggests the statement of main points with no elaboration or explanation. a summary listing of the year's main events pithy adds to succinct or terse the implication of richness of meaning or substance. a comedy sharpened by pithy one-liners compendious applies to what is at once full in scope and brief and concise in treatment. a compendious dictionary

Examples of summary in a Sentence

Adjective

a summary account of the accident obviously a one-volume encyclopedia can offer only a very summary account of the American Civil War

Noun

He concluded the report with a brief summary. They gave a summary of their progress in building the bridge.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The president’s budget message, top priorities, and summary tables will come March 11. Kate Davidson, WSJ, "Trump to Begin Releasing Fiscal 2020 Budget Plan on March 11," 4 Feb. 2019 The secretary of state’s office then certifies the official ballot title for the petition, which consists of the ballot summary language and the auditor’s summary of its fiscal impact. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "To limit initiative petitions in Missouri, some want to charge fees | The Kansas City Star," 7 Feb. 2018 There is also summary information about the journal’s authors—tables group them by country and institution. Matt Warren, Science | AAAS, "Firm that tallies controversial journal impact scores moves to provide more context," 27 June 2018 Missouri already has a Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review Board within the Department of Health and Senior Services that collects data and issues summary reports on maternal deaths in the state. Andy Marso, kansascity, "Missouri among worst nationally in maternal deaths. Reps say no to study on issue," 3 June 2018 Total loans and leases grew by almost 5 percent from the same period in 2017, to about $81.8 billion, according to the FDIC's summary report on Wisconsin banks. Paul Gores, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin banks post strong first quarter, FDIC report shows," 22 May 2018 Under the bill, possession of a small amount of marijuana — 30 grams or less — would be a summary offense rather than a misdemeanor. Christina Tatu, Philly.com, "Where marijuana has been decriminalized in Pa.," 9 May 2018 One special forces commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for his role in seven summary mass executions in which 33 people were killed. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Libyan Strongman’s Illness Stokes Fears of a Succession Feud," 19 Apr. 2018 Requests last fall by The Times for documents were answered only with summary data of recent complaints, 31 legislative investigations since 2006. John Myers, latimes.com, "California Legislature discloses seven sexual misconduct investigations from 1990s and 2000s," 6 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Per the plot summary, former rivalries will be reignited, alliances will be tested, and old wounds will be reopened. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "9 New Things to Stream in May on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and More," 29 Apr. 2019 Here’s a quick summary of each type: Cluster headaches: This type occurs usually on one side of the head, causes one eye to tear, and leaves you feeling extremely agitated. Amy Marturana, SELF, "What Your Headaches Can Tell You About Your Health," 29 Dec. 2018 An oversimplified summary: cars perform best with the weight evenly distributed among its wheels. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Why Does Everyone Love the Porsche 911?," 21 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile a recent ProPublica summary listed 14 other projects on which Ivanka and her father had misled investors over sales or involvement, from Baja to Waikiki. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Tenants today are reportedly still paying for a Trump family tax scheme from the 1990s," 15 Dec. 2018 Here’s a good, concise summary: Democracies, in contrast, are vulnerable to information attacks that turn common political knowledge into contested political knowledge. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The UK’s inquiry into fake news is focused on a long-dead bikini-finding app," 27 Nov. 2018 Fans seemed to agree with his summary of the song, which has instantly spurred endless memes upon its release on Nov. 3. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" Is Justin Bieber's New Favorite Song," 8 Nov. 2018 In addition to showing the trainer on screen, Mirror displays users’ heart rate and calories burned, as well as their overall workout summary at the end of class. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "This $1,500 mirror streams live fitness classes to compete with Peloton and ClassPass," 6 Sep. 2018 Attorney General William Barr relayed Mueller’s key findings in a four-page summary of the 22-month investigation: The evidence was insufficient to conclude that Trump or his associates conspired with Russians to interfere in the campaign. Paul Farhi, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: Conclusion that there was no conspiracy opens media outlets to mockery," 24 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'summary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of summary

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1509, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for summary

Adjective

Middle English, from Medieval Latin summarius, from Latin summa sum

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about summary

Statistics for summary

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for summary

The first known use of summary was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for summary

summary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of summary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: using few words to give the most important information about something
formal : done quickly in a way that does not follow the normal process

summary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of summary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a brief statement that gives the most important information about something

summary

adjective
sum·​ma·​ry | \ ˈsə-mə-rē How to pronounce summary (audio) \

Kids Definition of summary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : expressing or covering the main points briefly : concise a summary account
2 : done without delay summary punishment

summary

noun
plural summaries

Kids Definition of summary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a short statement of the main points (as in a book or report)

summary

adjective
sum·​ma·​ry | \ ˈsə-mə-rē How to pronounce summary (audio) \

Legal Definition of summary

: done immediately, concisely, and without usual formal procedures especially : used in or done by summary proceeding — compare plenary

Other Words from summary

summarily \ sə-​ˈmer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce summarily (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on summary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with summary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for summary

Spanish Central: Translation of summary

Nglish: Translation of summary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of summary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on summary

What made you want to look up summary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!