numbers game

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numbers game

1. The use of mathematics to deliberately manipulate facts or results. The accounting in that company was just a numbers game, so it's no wonder they got audited.
2. A scenario in which an increase in a certain type of action should lead to greater chance of a particular outcome (e.g. success). Dating is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the better your chances are at finding love.
See also: game, number
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a numbers game


the numbers game

COMMON A numbers game or the numbers game is a way of using figures to support an argument, often in a way that is dishonest or has no real meaning. She has criticized the numbers game which assumes that an exhibition receiving 5,000 visitors each day is better than one receiving 3,000. Note: You can also say that someone plays a numbers game or plays the numbers game. The problem in the Church is that we play the numbers game whereby success is marked by attendance figures. Note: In the United States, the `numbers game' or `numbers racket' is an illegal lottery. It involves people placing small bets on a series of numbers that appear in particular sections of that day's newspaper, for example the stock market figures.
See also: game, number
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a/the ˈnumbers game

a way of considering an activity, etc. that is concerned only with the number of people doing something, things achieved, etc., not with who or what they are: Candidates were playing the numbers game as the crucial vote drew closer.
See also: game, number
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Charges for violation of the Presidential Decree 1602 as amended by the Republic Act 9287 penalizing illegal numbers games are now being readied against the suspects.
NCRPO Police General Guillermo Eleazar presents 12 individuals arrested for illegal numbers game ( lotteng) following President Duterte's orders to intensify the campaign against illegal gambling, particularly STL (Small Town Lottery).
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is the government-authorised STL operator and the much-bigger "Lotto" numbers game.
Indeed, perhaps PSG's head of recruitment should read The Numbers Game before taking his club's alleged interest in Messi any further; it could save his employers a small fortune.
Dr Barnes said: "The studies into cannabis are usually a numbers game. You cannot say if you take cannabis you will get clinical depression - you just look at the numbers.
Alan Schwarz's The Numbers Game is not a statistical book but a book about statistics that reads like a fast-paced novel.
It's high time they sat up and smelled the coffee instead of playing the numbers game.
Kudos to E Magazine for its important articles on population, especially "The Numbers Game." Stopping population growth is an environmental sine qua non.
But the renowned quality of BNC dancers is the result of more than simply a numbers game. Alonso attributes it to an emphasis on style.
He blames the numbers game for most corporate calamities.
The numbers game is somewhat meaningful, but what's more important are the less quantifiable questions: Who's anticipating the problems of the future?
The numbers game started early April 30, when feminist Eleanor Smeal took the rally's podium and suggested that there were at least 750,000 people gathered, Several other speakers ran with Smeal's sum, although Washington, D,C., mayor Anthony Williams told the crowd that district police estimated its size to be closer to 310,000.
A simple but clever numbers game - the burden of four beds looming over one - it is also a curious twist on the tale of the Princess and the Pea, wherein viewers, who might otherwise prefer to align themselves with the light and delicate princess, get a chance to identify with the legume.
Statistically, the politicians are facing a numbers game called "how many votes" when it comes to deciding where to draw the income and rental lines.
I've heard a lot of talk about the numbers game. Somebody says there were 300,000; somebody says 400,000; somebody says 2 1/2 million.