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Add vs Sum vs Total vs Tot vs Cast vs Figure vs Foot

Add, sum, total, tot, cast, figure and foot share the meaning to find or represent the amount reached by putting together arithmetically a series of numbers or quantities, and are commonly followed by up.

Add is both the common and the technical word; it commonly implies strict adherence to the traditional arithmetical operation. Even in figurative use it implies a similar operation.

  • taken as a whole the vignettes and the stories add up to a single effect
  • the whole undertime trend adds up to a major consideration for businessmen and employees

Sum stresses the result attained rather than the method followed. In figurative use sum up implies a gathering and consolidation into a new whole, especially for the production of a single telling effect.

  • a lawyer in summing up summarizes in brief and logical form the evidence favorable to his case or client that has been given
  • I summed up all the systems in a phrase and all existence in an epigram
  • values they can sum up in a few simple formulas

Total tends to replace sum up in literal use.

  • determined the cost by totaling all expenditures

It may also mean to reach the sum or number of.

  • absences due to colds totaled 253 last week

Tot, cast, figure, and foot are used especially of commercial matters (as accounts and bookkeeping devices).

Tot and cast often imply facility in reckoning.

  • the waiter quickly totted the bill
  • if you tot up all the items that we owed against all the items that foreigners owed us
  • cast up an account

Figure usually suggests the task or burden involved in reckoning.

  • figure the costs of operating an automobile

Foot connotes bookkeeping and totals at the bottom of each column of figures.

  • his debts will foot up to more than he can ever pay