by numbers

by numbers

Exactly as the rules, directions, or plans dictate. Primarily heard in UK. If we all focus and do this by numbers, then we should have no trouble getting it finished. The military strike was executed perfectly and by numbers.
See also: by, number

by numbers

following simple instructions identified by numbers; mechanically.
This phrase alludes to painting by numbers , a painting kit with a canvas on which numbers have been marked to indicate which colour of paint should be applied at which place. US English uses the variant by the numbers .
1992 Canadian Yachting We discovered navigation by numbers as our beamy flotilla floated from buoy to buoy reading off the charts like a road map.
See also: by, number

by ˈnumbers

something done easily but without imagination; following instructions: I’m not a very good cook, I just do it by numbers.The last thing we want is teaching by numbers, reducing learning to a mechanical process.
See also: by, number
References in classic literature ?
An exceeding fierce battle immediately began, for about fifteen minutes, when we, being over-powered by numbers, were obliged to retreat, with the loss of sixty-seven men; seven of whom were taken prisoners.
The idea is to divide by numbers smaller than the given number to look for a particular set of remainders.