AskDefine | Define summary

Dictionary Definition

summary adj
1 performed speedily and without formality; "a summary execution"; "summary justice" [syn: drumhead]
2 briefly giving the gist of something; "a short and compendious book"; "a compact style is brief and pithy"; "succinct comparisons"; "a summary formulation of a wide-ranging subject" [syn: compendious, compact, succinct] n : a briefstatement that presents the main points in a concise form; "he gave a summary of the conclusions"

User Contributed Dictionary






(Adjective) From summarius, from summa.


  1. Concise, brief or presented in a condensed form.
    A summary review is in the appendix.
  2. Performed speedily and without formal ceremony.
    Summary justice is bad justice.



  1. An abstract or a condensed presentation of the substance of a body of material.


Derived terms


Translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

''For the legal procedural document, see Summary judgment.
A summary is a shortened version of the original. The main purpose of such a simplification is to highlight the major points from the genuine (much longer) subject, e.g. a text, a film or an event. The aim is to help the audience get the gist in a short period of time.
It starts with a lead, including title, author, text type and the main idea of the text. It has a clearly arranged structure and is written in a logical, chronological and traceable manner. In contrast to a résumé or a review, a summary contains neither interpretation nor rating. Only the opinion of the original writer is reflected – paraphrased with new words without quotations from the text. Unlike a retelling, a summary has no dramatic structure and is written in present tense or historic present. Because summaries should be significantly shorter than the original, minor facts have to be left out. In summaries only indirect speech is used and depictions are avoided. Summaries of books or dissertations present the major facts in common scientific language and should be about from a half up to one page long.
  • How to write a summary
    • Read the text
    • Formulate the main statement
    • Reread the text and underline important ideas and arguments according to the main statement
    • Introduce the author and title of the work in the opening sentence
    • Mention the important facts in chronological order
    • Check that your summary reflects the original conclusion

Summary in nonfiction

Nonfiction summaries serve to familiarize the reader with an entire work’s subject matter in a short space of time. They are written in a balanced and objective way, mirroring the genre’s aim to portray actual events from the author’s point of view. Generally, nonfiction summaries do not offer analysis or assessment.
Summarizers use their own words to write the shortened versions and draw on the original make-up of the pieces to structure the distillations. They exclude superfluous examples, descriptions and digressions. The opening sentence should introduce the topic, and the final sentence should sum up the theme, taking into account the knowledge gained from the body of the text.
In recent years, a summarizing industry has sprung up. Leading companies in this field are getAbstract and These firms focus mainly on business literature. They adhere to the nonfiction guidelines mentioned above, but also provide numerical ratings and evaluations of the titles covered. Shorter, more concise nonfiction summaries are called abstracts. They are approx. 5 pages, thus longer than scientific abstracts.


  • a summary is a stament that berofly reapeats the main idea oftne as the essay

External links

summary in German: Inhaltsangabe
summary in Spanish: Resumen
summary in Persian: خلاصه‌نویسی
summary in French: Résumé
summary in Hebrew: תקציר
summary in Dutch: Samenvatting
summary in Norwegian: Konklusjon
summary in Portuguese: Sumário
summary in Simple English: Summary
summary in Swedish: Slutsats
summary in Tagalog: Katapusang pangungusap

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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