- a considerable amount or quantity; many: Numbers flocked to the city to see the parade.
- metrical feet; verse.
- musical periods, measures, or groups of notes.
- numbers pool(def 1).
- Informal. the figures representing the actual cost, expense, profit, etc.: We won't make a decision until we see the numbers.
- Obsolete. arithmetic.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- according to standard procedure, rules, customs, etc.; orthodoxly; by the book: We're going to run things here by the numbers.
- together or in unison to a called-out count: calisthenics by the numbers.
- to undermine, defeat, humiliate, or criticize thoroughly: The committee really did a number on the mayor's proposal.
- to discuss or discourse about, especially in an entertaining way: She could do a number on anything from dentistry to the Bomb.
- to give a performance; perform: It's time for you to get on stage and do your number.
- Slang. to behave in a predictable or customary manner: Whenever I call, he does his number about being too busy to talk.
- one is (was, will be) in serious trouble.
- one is (was, will be) on the point of death: Convinced that her number was up anyway, she refused to see doctors.
Origin of number
SYNONYMS FOR number
British Dictionary definitions for by the numbers
- a self-contained piece of pop or jazz music
- a self-contained part of an opera or other musical score, esp one for the stage
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for number
Medicine definitions for by the numbers
Science definitions for by the numbers
Culture definitions for by the numbers
Idioms and Phrases with by the numbers (1 of 2)
by the numbers
In a strict sequence, step-by-step; also, mechanically. For example, The only way to assemble this computer is to do it by the numbers, or Writing a novel is not something one can do by the numbers. This expression has nothing to do with actual numerical figures (like by the dozen) but uses numbers in the sense of a strict order or sequence.
Idioms and Phrases with by the numbers (2 of 2)
In addition to the idiom beginning with number
- number is up, one's
- a number of
- any number of
- back number
- by the numbers
- crunch numbers
- days are numbered
- do a job (number) on
- get (have) someone's number
- hot number
- in round numbers
- look out for (number one)
- opposite number
- safety in numbers