In Summary: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
September 22, 2023

"In summary" is an idiom used to concisely recapitulate or sum up the main points or ideas of something. It's a helpful phrase for providing a brief overview or conclusion to a discussion or presentation.

In short:

  • It is an idiomatic expression that denotes a brief restatement or summary of crucial points or ideas.
  • It is often employed to emphasize the most crucial information and leave a lasting impression.

What Does "In Summary" Mean?

In summary" is an idiomatic expression that denotes a brief restatement or consolidation of pivotal points or concepts in an article or statement. It provides a quick overview or conclusion to a conversation, presentation, or piece of writing.

Where Does "In Summary" Come From?

The exact origin of the idiom "in summary" is not well-documented, as it is a straightforward combination of the words "in" and "summary." However, its usage can be traced back to summarizing information, which has been a part of human communication for centuries. People have always sought efficient ways to convey important ideas succinctly, making "in summary" a natural linguistic evolution.

Historical Example

"In summary, we can say that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom."

—an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863

10 Examples of "In Summary" in Sentences

Here are examples of how this idiom can be used in different contexts:

  • Yaas! In summary, we can conclude that the project is on track for success.
  • The movie was full of peaks and troughs, but in summary, it was a thrilling ride.
  • Looks good. In summary, the book delves into love, loss, and redemption themes.
  • Lookin' sharp. In summary, the CEO outlined the company's vision for the next decade.
  • No diggity. In summary, the research suggests that exercise has numerous health benefits.
  • Real talk: The presentation covered various topics, but in summary, it needs increased efficiency.
  • After a thorough examination of the evidence, in summary, the jury reached a unanimous verdict.
  • The article is lengthy, but in summary, it discusses the effects of climate change on the country's weather.
  • The meeting was long, but in summary, the decision was to move forward with the new marketing strategy.
  • In summary, after debating day in and day out, the council decided the proposal would be tabled for further review.

Examples of "In Summary" in Pop Culture

Here are some notable examples of this idiom in popular culture:

  • In the hit TV series "Breaking Bad," Walter White frequently uses the phrase to conclude his explanations of complex chemical processes.
  • In the film "The Social Network," Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, uses "in summary" during a deposition to summarize his thoughts and actions regarding the creation of Facebook.
  • In the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, the lyrics include the line, "in summary, here's what happened," as the song transitions to its epic rock opera section.
  • In "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, the character Atticus Finch uses "in summary" when delivering his closing argument during Tom Robinson's trial.

Other Ways to Say "In Summary"

Some synonyms and alternative expressions for this idiom are:

  • To sum up
  • To wrap up
  • To conclude
  • In conclusion
  • To summarize
  • To recapitulate
  • To bring it all together
  • To give a final thought

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "In Summary"

Here are some frequently asked questions about the idiom:

  • What does "in summary" mean?

"In summary" is an idiom used to concisely recapitulate or sum up the main points or ideas of something. It's a helpful phrase for providing a brief overview or conclusion to a discussion or presentation.

  • What is the origin of the phrase "in summary"?

The exact origin of the idiom "in summary" is not well-documented, as it is a straightforward combination of the words "in" and "summary." However, its usage can be traced back to summarizing information, which has been a part of human communication for centuries.

  •  Can "in summary" be used in formal writing?

Yes, it can be used in formal writing to provide a concise recapitulation of key points.

  • What are some synonyms for "in summary"?

Some synonyms for "in summary" are "to sum up," "to wrap up," "to conclude," "to summarize," "to bring it all together,"  and "to give a final thought."

  • Is "in summary" suitable for academic writing?

It can be used sparingly in academic writing when you want to provide a concise summary of your argument or findings.

  • Are there any idiomatic variations of "in summary"?

There aren't many idiomatic variations, as it's a straightforward phrase. However, you can use synonyms or different introductory words for variety.

  • Can "in summary" be used in spoken language?

Yes, it's commonly used in spoken language to conclude discussions or presentations.

  • Is "in summary" used differently in different cultures?

While the phrase's core meaning remains the same, its frequency of use may vary slightly across cultures and languages.

  • Are there any common mistakes when using "in summary"?

One common mistake is overusing it; it should be employed judiciously to highlight critical points.

  • Can "in summary" be used in storytelling?

It can be used in storytelling to provide a quick recap of events or signal a narrative's conclusion.

Final Thoughts About "In Summary"

"In summary" is a versatile idiom that is a valuable tool for succinctly summarizing essential information. Whether in writing, speeches, or everyday conversation, this phrase allows individuals to emphasize crucial points and ensure their message is clear and memorable.

In summary:

  • It is used to concisely recapitulate or sum up the main points or ideas of something.
  • The idiom has some synonyms, antonyms, and similar expressions that you can use.
  • It can be used in different types of sentences.
  • It can be used in various contexts and situations.

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