do a number on
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do a number on (someone or something)
1. To hurt or harm someone or something. Considering her pessimism toward marriage, her last break-up must have really done a number on her. Ugh, your puppy did a number on my new shoes—they're completely chewed up!
2. To urinate or defecate on something. My cat used to always use her litter box, but she regularly does a number on the floor, unfortunately.
do a number on someone or something
Sl. to damage or harm someone or something. The teacher did a number on the whole class by giving them a pop quiz. Tom did a number on Mary when he went out with Ann.
do a number ontreat someone badly, typically by deceiving, humiliating, or criticizing them in a calculated and thorough way. North American informal
do a ˈnumber on somebody/something(informal, especially American English) hurt, damage or criticize somebody/something seriously: Sun and pollution can really do a number on your skin. ♢ To the delight of Republicans, the press did a number on your senator (= criticized him severely).
do a number onSlang
To defeat, abuse, or humiliate in a calculated and thorough way.
do a number on, to
To ruin, cheat, or trick someone. This slangy phrase dates from the late 1960s and originated in black English. For example, “That boss of yours really did a number on you; you’ll never get promoted.”
See also: number