do a number on, to

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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.
See also: number, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

do a number on

treat someone badly, typically by deceiving, humiliating, or criticizing them in a calculated and thorough way. North American informal
See also: number, on
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

do a number on

Slang
To defeat, abuse, or humiliate in a calculated and thorough way.
See also: number, on
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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