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crunch numbers

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Perform numerous calculations or process a large amount of numerical data. For example, Preparing John's presentation to the Federal Reserve Board required many hours of crunching numbers. This term originated with the computer age and indeed still applies mostly to the operations of computers. [Slang; second half of 1900s]

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

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