someone's number is up

someone's number is up

INFORMAL
1. If someone's number is up, they are going to die very soon and there is nothing they can do to stop that. There were moments when Smith thought his number was up like in a major storm in the Atlantic when a voice in his head said quite clearly, `You are going to die.'
2. If someone's number is up, something bad is going to happen to them, for example they are going to fail at something or lose their job. When the American found himself two match points down to Rosset of Switzerland last night, he thought his number was up. Note: This is derived from army or navy life. A soldier or sailor who had been killed or who had died was said to have lost his mess number, or given up his place in the dining hall.
See also: number, up

someone's number is up

the time has come when someone is doomed to die or suffer some other disaster or setback. informal
This phrase may allude to a lottery number or to the various biblical passages referring to the ‘number of your days’, i.e. the length of your life, for example in Job 38:21: ‘Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?’
See also: number, up
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