do a number on, to(redirected from to do a number on)
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
do a number ontreat someone badly, typically by deceiving, humiliating, or criticizing them in a calculated and thorough way. North American informal
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
do a number onSlang
To defeat, abuse, or humiliate in a calculated and thorough way.
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