by numbers following simple instructions identified by numbers or as if identified by numbers; the allusion is to painting by numbers, a painting kit with a canvas on which numbers have been marked to indicate which colour of paint should be applied in which place.
numbers game the use or manipulation of statistics or figures, especially in support of an argument (often derogatory).
See also there is luck in odd numbers, number, there is safety in numbers.
Numbers, book of the Bible, fourth of the five books of the Law (the Pentateuch or Torah) ascribed by tradition to Moses. Numbers begins at Sinai and ends in Moab on the eve of the Hebrews' entry into Palestine. It continues Exodus' narrative of the journey of the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land. (Leviticus does not advance the story.) Kadesh is the scene of a number of revolts against Moses' authority. Nevertheless, out of dissension comes a greater sense of solidarity and unity. The geographical detail of the journey is bare, and only the main lines can be discerned. The book contains incidental legislation. Its events include two censuses, whence the title; the sending of spies to reconnoiter the Promised Land; the emergence of Joshua and Caleb as leaders; the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; the curse of Balaam turned into a blessing; and the apostasy at Shittim in which Phinehas played an exemplary role.
See G. W. Coats, Rebellion in the Wilderness (1968); P. Budd, Numbers (1984). See also bibliography under Old Testament.
See also 262. MATHEMATICS .
- a skilied user of the abacus.
- Psychiatry. an inability to work with figures; a mental block concerning calculation.
- a form of divination involving numbers. Also called arithmomancy .
- 1. an obsession with numbers.
- 2. a compulsion to count things.
- a belief that the number seven is sacred, as in ancient Baby-Ion.
- a system of occultism based upon numbers. —numerologist, n. —numerological, adj.