sum and substance


Also found in: Idioms.
References in classic literature ?
Judging from what you all, say" remarked Aunt Jamesina, "the sum and substance is that you can learn -- if you've got natural gumption enough -- in four years at college what it would take about twenty years of living to teach you.
The life to which poor Kate Nickleby was devoted, in consequence of the unforeseen train of circumstances already developed in this narrative, was a hard one; but lest the very dulness, unhealthy confinement, and bodily fatigue, which made up its sum and substance, should deprive it of any interest with the mass of the charitable and sympathetic, I would rather keep Miss Nickleby herself in view just now, than chill them in the outset, by a minute and lengthened description of the establishment presided over by Madame Mantalini.
Apart from a few characteristic utterances of the Betteredge philosophy, this was the sum and substance of my correspondent's letter.