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

The noun sense (nakedness): was popularized in George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby.



altogether (not comparable)

  1. Completely, wholly, or without exception.
    Police did not seem altogether satisfied with my alibi.
    • 1891, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”, in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:
      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: see 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
  3. With everything included
    Altogether, your bill comes to $6.99.
  4. (informal) Intensifier, "without doubt", "clearly"
    It was a great game altogether

Usage notes[edit]

“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.



altogether (plural altogethers)

  1. (colloquial, usually with the) A state of nakedness. (Especially in the phrase in the altogether)
    • 1896, The Quartier Latin[3], volume 1, number 1:
      And she objects, too, to the "altogether." Her gowns will never be cut more décolleté than those seen in the boxes of the Metropolitan Opera House of New York city.
    • 1930 August 4, “Prix de Rome”, in Time:
      Hearing that his wife was posing in the altogether for the great Spanish satirist, the Duke of Alba swore that he would paint Goya's picture in Goya's blood.
    • 2004 November 25, David Carr, “When a TV Talking Head Becomes a Talking Body”, in New York Times, retrieved 16 September 2008:
      Last week, a Cleveland news anchor, Sharon Reed, was caught on camera stripping nude and joining a gaggle of other people in the altogether.