[awl-tuh-geth-er, awl-tuh-geth-er]
See more synonyms for altogether on
  1. wholly; entirely; completely; quite: altogether fitting.
  2. with all or everything included: The debt amounted altogether to twenty dollars.
  3. with everything considered; on the whole: Altogether, I'm glad it's over.
  1. in the altogether, Informal. nude: When the phone rang she had just stepped out of the bathtub and was in the altogether.

Origin of altogether

1125–75; variant of Middle English altogeder. See all, together

Synonyms for altogether

See more synonyms for on

Usage note

The forms altogether and all together, though often indistinguishable in speech, are distinct in meaning. The adverb altogether means “wholly, entirely, completely”: an altogether confused scene. The phrase all together means “in a group”: The children were all together in the kitchen. This all can be omitted without seriously affecting the meaning: The children were together in the kitchen. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for in the altogether


  1. with everything includedaltogether he owed me sixty pounds
  2. completely; utterly; totallyhe was altogether mad
  3. on the wholealtogether it was a very good party
  1. in the altogether informal naked
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for in the altogether


early 13c., altogedere, a strengthened form of all (also see together); used in the sense of "a whole" from 1660s. The altogether "nude" is from 1894.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with in the altogether

in the altogether

Also, in or stripped to the buff; in the raw. Naked, nude, as in The art class wanted a model to pose in the altogether, or She was stripped to the buff when the doorbell rang, or He always sleeps in the raw. The first of these colloquial terms dates from the late 1800s. In the buff, a seemingly modern locution dates from the 1600s, buff alluding to a soft, undyed leather, buffskin, that also gave its name to the color. The use of raw, presumably also alluding to raw (undressed) leather, dates from the early 1900s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.