to "run numbers"

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 3 19:09:03 UTC 2011

The phrase has been familiar to me my entire adult life, so it was no
surprise to find a GB hit in Paul Samuelson's "Economics" from 1980 --
an earlier version was my first year college Economics textbook.


On Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 2:57 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      to "run numbers"
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> Not in OED in any sense.
> Long ago, to "run [the] numbers" meant to control or be an employee of an
> illegal "numbers game.".
> Nowadays, however, it often means simply to "calculate mathematically."
> Erin Burnett, CNN: "I learned never to take anything for granted and to
> always run the numbers myself."
> Grant Barrett used the phrase here a few years ago, but no one took notice.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
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