Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. Entirely; completely; utterly: lost the TV picture altogether; an altogether new approach.
  • adv. With all included or counted; all told: There were altogether 20 people at the dinner.
  • adv. On the whole; with everything considered: Altogether, I'm sorry it happened.
  • n. A state of nudity. Often used with the: in the altogether.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Without exception; wholly; completely.
  • adv. On the whole; with everything considered.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. All together; conjointly.
  • adv. Without exception; wholly; completely.
  • n. nakedness; -- used mostly in the phrase “in the altogether”.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Wholly; entirely; completely; quite.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. informal terms for nakedness
  • adv. to a complete degree or to the full or entire extent (`whole' is often used informally for `wholly')
  • adv. with everything considered (and neglecting details)
  • adv. with everything included or counted

Etymologies

Middle English al togeder : al, all; see all + togeder, together; see together.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English altogeder, altogedere, equivalent to al- (“all”) +‎ together. Cognate with Scots awthegither ("altogether"). Compare also Old English eallġeador ("altogether"), West Frisian allegearre ("altogether"). More at together. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Locke, in particular, ruined the term altogether in English philosophical literature, where it has ceased to possess any recognized definite meaning.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7: Gregory XII-Infallability

  • I'm blessed if I can make it out -- he's dropped the title altogether, and now calls himself _Mister_ -- I've forgotten for the moment the rest of it, but it is an English name.

    The Port of Missing Men

  • It may be affirmed that the writers of the age of Louis XIV would not have used these expressions: they would never have thought of using the word "equality" without applying it to some particular object; and they would rather have renounced the term altogether than have consented to make a living personage of it.

    democracy in America, volume 2

  • Shrinking from the term altogether is not what our educational system should be doing.

    Kansas City Star: Front Page

  • Asthma is unlikely to be a single disease, so we should abolish the term altogether, states an Edito ...

    THE MEDICAL NEWS

  • So erase those, and keep your eye out for another label altogether, one that we can put just a touch more trust into.

    AlterNet.org Main RSS Feed

  • Since it is not much use for the purposes of communication, my feeling is that it's better to ditch the term altogether though of course it's much too late for that.

    ComicsAlliance

  • Explorer centers everything, loses the title altogether and puts the sidebar at the bottom: that Colman G. has made me laugh again in comments by introducing me to my new favourite site,

    The ADD Blog at Comic Book Galaxy

  • I agree 100% with Bubba's comment above, get away from dealing with California altogether is the answer ......

    Internet Acess to California DMV site

  • Therefore, the word “Introduction” was dropped from its title altogether: The Diversity of Human Language-Structure and its Influence on the intellectual and spiritual Development of Mankind (Ueber die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaus und seinen Einfluss auf die geistige Entwickelung des Menschengeschlechts) (Berlin, 1836).

    Wilhelm von Humboldt

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