number; statistic

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jul 10 01:26:58 UTC 2008

I must be blind. Seems like there's no OED entry for "statistic," as in "Don't become a statistic."
And no def. under "number" that includes the related sense, "a person thought of merely as an inconsequential part of a great throng, with no regard to individuality or interest":
1918 Robert Emmet Ryan, in Herbert Adams Gibbons _Songs from the Trenches: The Soul of the A.E.F._ (N.Y.: Harper & Bros.) 48: You wonder if they'll find you, should you, perhaps, be slain,/ For you know you're but a number in that deadly leaden rain./ ...Then as numbers they are buried, with their tomb the open sky,/ With a comrade for a tombstone, that's the way the numbers die.

The American Dialect Society -

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