I'm trying to determine what word would best be used to indicate an instruction to, when someone comes across a number of things in a given situation, add the number there (maybe written, or it may require counting a number in that situation) to a running total of similar things.

  • It would be similar in usage to count or tally, but would specifically imply that there is more than one to add to the running total
  • Something more similar in meaning to accumulate or aggregate except we're just tracking the numbers of things (like rocks or plants), not actually collecting them in a bag or box, so I'd prefer to avoid those words, which have that potential meaning
  • Add might be close, but there's a reason the phrase "add to the running total" isn't just "add"
  • Whereas count and tally and even sum, I think, imply "determine a number and report it", I want something that is more like "determine the number of these and then add that to this total"
  • So, it would fit in this sentence in place of accumulate: "If you come across some hair pins, accumulate them in the 'sharp' count and the 'metal' count, but if you find buttons, they should be accumulated in the 'round' count - if they're round - and the 'flat' count."
  • The more precise meaning of that sentence above is: "If you come across some hair pins, count them and add that number to the 'sharp' count and the 'metal' count, but if you find buttons, they should be counted and that total should be added to the both the 'round' count and the 'flat' count."
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    How about "increment"? – Hot Licks May 20 '20 at 18:13
  • "increment by" would be a good meaning -- if given a straight number -- but doesn't to my knowledge have the WHOLE "count and add to" meaning and it would be two words... obviously if I can't figure out a single word, I'll have to consider compound words, though – Code Jockey May 22 '20 at 11:14
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    Could one not say "increment the running total", as suggested by @HotLicks? That's just only word. It's implicit that one has to determine the size of increment first and then simply add it to the running total. – Richard Kayser May 22 '20 at 13:26
  • @RichardKayser -- in my understanding, 1 is implicit as the increment unless stated otherwise, so "increment the running total by 10" or "increment the total by that number" - it actually may be applicable enough to my usage, but I'm not sure if it's the best answer to my question (again, if there is one) – Code Jockey May 22 '20 at 14:07
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    "Include them in the sharp count" seems natural to me. – Steve Lovell May 27 '20 at 6:18

Tally the number of like items encountered and add that number to the running total in each of the clusters to which the items belong.

In coding terms:

x = x + y

where x is the running total and y is the tally

  • It doesn't appear to me that tally as you've defined it means add an amount to a running total. Is it not the amount to be added? – Richard Kayser May 20 '20 at 22:17
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    @RichardKayser: tally means count up the hairpins. Add that number -- that tally -- to the running total. Add a tally to a running total for a new running total. – Tinfoil Hat May 20 '20 at 22:43
  • I understand, but the OP is asking not for the tally, but for the verb that corresponds to adding the tally to the running total. – Richard Kayser May 20 '20 at 23:29
  • @RichardKayser: Yes, you just said it: add to. The OP's premise is a bit skewed, in my opinion; it's not the operation that needs clarifying, but rather the operator and the operand. – Tinfoil Hat May 21 '20 at 2:33
  • @TinfoilHat - I'm hoping to find a single word that means "tally and add to", if one exists – Code Jockey May 22 '20 at 11:18

How about update? M-W:

update: bring up to date

When you add an amount (number) to a running total, you are updating the running total. For example, Johns Hopkins University regularly updates the number of confirmed cases and deaths due to Covid-19 in countries around the world. It's implicit that one has to determine the size of increment first (in my example, the number of new confirmed cases and deaths in a given time period) and then simply add it to the running total for all previous time periods.

  • update isn't perfect, because it doesn't really have the explicit "Assess/count the number of new constituents" part of the meaning I'm looking for, but it's close, so it might be the best candidate for an answer so far! – Code Jockey May 22 '20 at 11:12

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