Meaning of “total” in the English Dictionary

"total" in British English

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totalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈtəʊ.təl/ us /ˈtoʊ.t̬əl/

B1 the amount you get when several smaller amounts are added together:

At that time of day, cars with only one occupant accounted for almost 80 percent of the total.
A total of 21 horses were entered in the race.
We made $1,000 in total, over three days of trading.

More examples

  • The school bazaar raised a total of £550.
  • The trip cost a total of £250, insurance included.
  • The average of the three numbers 7, 12 and 20 is 13, because the total of 7, 12 and 20 is 39, and 39 divided by 3 is 13.
  • These figures are expressed as a percentage of the total.
  • Unemployment is likely to reach the highest total that has ever been recorded.

totaladjective

uk /ˈtəʊ.təl/ us /ˈtoʊ.t̬əl/

total adjective (AMOUNT)

B1 [ before noun ] including everything:

the total cost
Total losses were $800.

More examples

  • The total amount raised so far is approaching $1000.
  • When you include all my overtime, my total pay is quite good.
  • What is the total oil output from the British sector of the North Sea?
  • We need to work out the total cost of the project.
  • Although sexual and violent crimes have increased by 10%, they remain only a tiny fraction of the total number of crimes committed each year.

total adjective (VERY GREAT)

B2 very great or of the largest degree possible:

total secrecy
a total disregard for their feelings
total silence
The organization of the event was a total shambles (= very bad).
The collapse, when it came, was total.

More examples

  • She stared at him in total incomprehension.
  • Literary critics were in total disagreement about the value of the book.
  • The meeting was a total failure.
  • The Workers' Coalition experienced the ignominy of total defeat in the last election.
  • He's a total no-hoper - he'll never achieve anything.

totalverb [ L only + noun, T ]

uk /ˈtəʊ.təl/ us /ˈtoʊ.t̬əl/ -ll- or US usually -l-

total verb [ L only + noun, T ] (ADD UP)

C1 to have as a complete amount, or to calculate this:

This is the eighth volume in the series, which totals 21 volumes in all.
We totalled (up) the money we had each earned, and then shared it equally between the three of us.

More examples

  • He ran up debts totalling nearly £3,000.
  • If you total their earnings for the year, you will see they are quite substantial.
  • Their combined service in the company totalled 50 years.

total verb [ L only + noun, T ] (DAMAGE)

mainly US UK write off to damage a vehicle so badly that it cannot be repaired:

His son totaled the pickup when it was ten months old.

to damage something extremely badly:

Volkswagen hasn't just put a few dings in its brand; it may have totaled it.

(Definition of “total” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"total" in American English

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totalnoun [ C ]

us /ˈtoʊ·t̬əl/

total noun [ C ] (AMOUNT)

the whole amount:

Add these up and give me the total.
We paid a total of $473.
in total

In total means including everything added together:

Last week 45 people in total came to the senior center.

totaladjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈtoʊ·t̬əl/

total adjective [ not gradable ] (COMPLETE)

complete or extreme:

Negotiations had to be held in total secrecy.

total adjective [ not gradable ] (INCLUDING AMOUNT)

totalverb [ T ]

us /ˈtoʊ·t̬əl/

total verb [ T ] (DESTROY)

to destroy something completely:

She didn’t total the car, but she did a lot of damage.

total verb [ T ] (HAVE AS AMOUNT)

-l-, -ll- to have as a whole amount, or to calculate this:

This history series totals twelve volumes in all.

(Definition of “total” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"total" in Business English

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totalnoun

uk /ˈtəʊtəl/ us

the amount or number that you get when several smaller amounts are added together:

a total of $20/£1,000/€3m, etc. We calculated all costs to the company and came to a total of $5,500.
We employ 534 staff in total.
We have a large workforce with women representing 30% of the total.

totaladjective

uk /ˈtəʊtəl/ us

[ before noun ] including everything in a calculation or every person in a group:

total cost/expense These figures show the total cost of the project including staff salaries.
total gains/losses Can you give us an idea of our total losses?
The UK All Companies performance category averaged an 18.1% total return over the year.
Women represent a very small percentage of our total workforce.

complete or very great:

The project was a total disaster.
The audience listened in total silence.

totalverb [ T ]

uk /ˈtəʊtəl/ us

UK -ll, US -l- to add up to a particular amount:

The annual salary bill totals more than $3 million.
They incurred losses totalling over $2 million.

also total up to add up amounts to get a final number:

All costs have been totaled at the bottom of the column.
When they totalled up their losses, they realised they could not continue in business.

informal to destroy a car in an accident:

They will pay the full cost to buy a new car if you total your car within the first year.

(Definition of “total” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)