Definition of summa in English:


nounplural noun summae/ˈsəmē/ /ˈso͝omī/

mainly archaic
  • A summary of a subject.

    ‘the Wake is a summa of Joyce's microtextual practice’
    • ‘Even the inquisitorial bishops and curia officials granted that he had written a virtual summa.’
    • ‘Work as distraction - that is the summa of Voltaire's wisdom.’
    • ‘His last major paper - ‘Classicism’, published or delivered in 1960, not long before his death - was his summa or summing up of a lifetime of reflection and argument.’
    • ‘This ‘work of my life,’ whose preface had to be concluded only ten years later at Potsdam, was, to a certain degree, the summa he had proposed himself to write, the conclusion of his activities and his knowledge.’
    • ‘In this light, the final series of kilims stands as a summa, dense and comprehensive in its references but, perhaps unavoidably, less agile, less beguiling than the individual works whose many themes it subsumes.’
    synopsis, precis, résumé, abstract, abridgement, digest, compendium, condensation, encapsulation, abbreviated version



/ˈsəmə/ /ˈso͝omə/ /ˈsʊmə/ /ˈso͞omə/ /ˈsumə/


Early 18th century from Latin, literally ‘sum total’ (a sense reflected in Middle English).