make up the numbers

make up the numbers

1. To reach the necessary number of people to do or have something. With so many people declining to attend, I doubt we'll be able to make up the numbers to have this event without losing money.
2. To participate or be included merely as a means of reaching the necessary number of people for some task or activity. I was excited that they wanted me on their team, but I realized that I was just making up the numbers.
See also: make, number, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.