From Middle English altogeder, altogedere, equivalent to al- (all) +‎ together. Cognate with Scots awthegither (altogether), Middle High German alzegater (altogether). Compare also Old English ealġeador, eallġeador (altogether), West Frisian allegearre (altogether). More at together.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɔːl.tʊˈɡɛð.ə(ɹ)/, /ɔː.tuːˈɡɛð.ə(ɹ)/, /ɔːltəˈɡɛðə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɔl.tuˈɡɛð.ɚ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛðə(r)


altogether (not comparable)

  1. Without exception; wholly; completely.
    • 1891, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches,"
      Your advice will be altogether invaluable to me.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 3, in The Mirror and the Lamp[1]:
      One saint's day in mid-term a certain newly appointed suffragan-bishop came to the school chapel, and there preached on “The Inner Life.” He at once secured attention by his informal method, and when presently the coughing of Jarvis [] interrupted the sermon, he altogether captivated his audience with a remark about cough lozenges being cheap and easily procurable.
    • 1963, C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins, 2nd Revised edition, page 24:
      And wordy attacks against slavery drew sneers from observers which were not altogether undeserved. The authors were compared to doctors who offered to a patient nothing more than invectives against the disease which consumed him.
    Synonyms: completely, wholly; see also Thesaurus:completely
  2. On the whole; with everything considered.
    Altogether, I'm sorry it happened.
    • 2011 November 10, Jeremy Wilson, “England 5, Iceland 0: under 21 match report”, in The Telegraph[2]:
      A sell-out crowd of 10,000 then observed perfectly a period of silence before the team revealed their black armbands, complete with stitched-in poppies, for the match. After FIFA’s about-turn, it must have been a frantic few days for the England kit manufacturer. The on-field challenge was altogether more straightforward.
    Synonyms: all in all; see also Thesaurus:mostly

Usage notesEdit

“Altogether” and “all together” do not mean the same thing. The one-word term is used to mean “wholly, completely, in total”, whereas the two-word term is used to mean "as a group, in the same place”, etc.

Derived termsEdit