by the numbers

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To do something exactly, precisely, or in a formulaic way.

Etymology:

  • The origin of this phrase goes back to the American Revolutionary War where a book containing numbered positions for rifle and bayonet practice was used to train soldiers. In the book, each diagram was numbered.
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Submitted on September 01, 2009

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Nearby phrases

Some more phrases from our dictionary similar to by the numbers

How to pronounce this phrase?

  1. Alex
    US English
    Daniel
    British
    Karen
    Australian
    Veena
    Indian

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    "by the numbers." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 10 May 2021. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/by-the-numbers_2727>.

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