get someone's number


Also, have someone's number. Determine or know one's real character or motives, as in You can't fool Jane; she's got your number. This expression uses number in the sense of “a precise appraisal.” Charles Dickens had it in Bleak House (1853): “Whenever a person proclaims to you, 'In worldly matters I'm a child,' ... that person is only crying off from being held accountable ... and you have got that person's number.” [Mid-1800s]

QUIZZES

TAKE THIS QUIZ IF A DAZZLING VOCABULARY IS YOUR DESIDERATUM!

Have the Words of the Day from October 19–25, 2020, made an indelible mark on your memory? Take the quiz to find out!
Question 1 of 7
What does “clement” mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.