A variant of "do a number"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 5 22:32:35 UTC 2006

There's also "do this number" / "do one of these numbers"

as in

And then I / you / he did this number / did one of these numbers

This announces that the speaker is going to perform an act that's the
same as that done by the person spoken of - "this number" - or one
that's similar to that done by the person spoken of - "one  of these
numbers." It's something like a combination of HDAS's _number (5.a)_,
which notes the existence of "do (one's) number," with "do a number."

According to one of my mother's stories, our cousin, Lois, was known,
way back when, as the best at a dance of the day called the "black
bottom." People wanting to learn the dance would say, "Let Lois do her
number" or some such, it being understood that doing her "number" was
dancing the black bottom.

-Wilson Gray

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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