number games

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number games

  1. (idiomatic) A numbers game: the use of inappropriate statistics (numbers) to reflect a desired result (usually misleading).
    • 1980, United States House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy Research and Production, (transcript of the proceedings about the) Omnibus Geothermal Energy Legislation, page 159:
      This sounds like we are playing number games, and I wonder if 20000 megawatts is a realistic guess.
    • 2011, David Gilmour, The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples, page 389:
      To many of their compatriots, politicians seem an innately frivolous breed. [] When they have to retire backstage, they spend their time playing number games, plotting new combinations, making and unmaking coalitions.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Liam Miller, Memento Mori:
      "In other words, they were playing number games with an author so they didn't look bad to their investors. They do it a lot."
  2. plural of number game: lotteries, numbers games.
    • 1990, John Dombrink, William Norman Thompson, The Last Resort: Success And Failure In Campaigns For Casinos, page 99:
      Like several other northeastern states, New York has also legalized various forms of lottery and number games.
    • 1993, Peter DeLeon, Thinking About Political Corruption, page 36:
      The functional argument also encompasses the "victimless crime" issue: prostitution, narcotics, and number games are illegal, yet they flourish and are indeed eagerly sought out by everyday citizens.

Usage notes[edit]

The singular form number game often refers to a literal game involving numbers, such as one children might play.

See also[edit]