When you determine the sum, you add up all the numbers. When you sum something up, you focus on all of its important points.

The word sum can also refer to a certain amount of money. A new car might cost you a huge sum of money. But if you sum or add up all its benefits, you might be able to justify spending so much. You calculate the total on a restaurant bill when you sum up the prices of everything you ordered. Sum doesn't have to refer strictly to numbers. When you sum something up, you're giving an overview or general statement about it.

Definitions of sum
  1. noun
    a quantity obtained by the addition of a group of numbers
    synonyms: amount, total
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    grand total
    the sum of the sums of several groups of numbers
    the sum of part of a group of numbers
    type of:
    the concept that something has a magnitude and can be represented in mathematical expressions by a constant or a variable
  2. noun
    a set containing all and only the members of two or more given sets
    synonyms: join, union
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    direct sum
    a union of two disjoint sets in which every element is the sum of an element from each of the disjoint sets
    type of:
    a group of things of the same kind that belong together and are so used
  3. noun
    the whole amount
    synonyms: aggregate, total, totality
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    type of:
    unit, whole
    an assemblage of parts that is regarded as a single entity
  4. noun
    the final aggregate
    “the sum of all our troubles did not equal the misery they suffered”
    synonyms: sum total, summation
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    aggregate, congeries, conglomeration
    a sum total of many heterogenous things taken together
    type of:
    accumulation, aggregation, assemblage, collection
    several things grouped together or considered as a whole
  5. noun
    a quantity of money
    “he borrowed a large sum
    synonyms: amount, amount of money, sum of money
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    show 20 types...
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    the amount by which the revenue of a business exceeds its cost of operating
    gross, receipts, revenue
    the entire amount of income before any deductions are made
    cash surrender value
    the amount that the insurance company will pay on a given life insurance policy if the policy is cancelled prior to the death of the insured
    an amount of money contributed
    (taxes) an amount that can be deducted (especially for the purposes of calculating income tax)
    the sum of money that is misappropriated
    loss, red, red ink
    the amount by which the cost of a business exceeds its revenue
    an amount of money expressed numerically
    coverage, insurance coverage
    the total amount and type of insurance carried
    advance, cash advance
    an amount paid before it is earned
    payroll, paysheet
    the total amount of money paid in wages
    an insignificant sum of money; a trifling amount
    a sum of money offered as a prize
    a sum of money spoken of as the contents of a money purse
    financial gain
    the amount of monetary gain
    box office
    total admission receipts for an entertainment
    total admission receipts at a sports event
    paper profit
    an unrealized gain on an investment calculated by subtracting the investor's cost from the current market price
    paper loss
    an unrealized loss on an investment calculated by subtracting the current market price from the investor's cost
    a situation in which increased costs cannot be passed on to the customer
    type of:
    anything of material value or usefulness that is owned by a person or company
  6. noun
    the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
    synonyms: center, centre, core, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, pith, substance
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    bare bones
    (plural) the most basic facts or elements
    (metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality
    haecceity, quiddity
    the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
    distillation, quintessence
    the purest and most concentrated essence of something
    a critically important or characteristic component
    type of:
    cognitive content, content, mental object
    the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
  7. verb
    determine the sum of
    synonyms: add, add together, add up, sum up, summate, tally, tot, tot up, total, tote up
    add, add together
    make an addition by combining numbers
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    type of:
    count, enumerate, number, numerate
    determine the number or amount of
  8. verb
    be a summary of
    synonyms: sum up, summarise, summarize
    resume, sum up, summarise, summarize
    give a summary (of)
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    type of:
    say, state, tell
    express in words
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