by numbers


: in a way that follows the rules or instructions but that is not interesting or original
Dancing by numbers isn't good enough. You have to really feel the music.

Examples of by numbers in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The report released Thursday does not name school employees directly, instead listing them by numbers. Nicole Asbury, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 Currently, there are 240 species in the data set, with 900 characteristics represented by numbers. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 16 Aug. 2023 After that, an export boom could see BYD soon become the world’s number one car brand by numbers. Carlton Reid, WIRED, 14 Oct. 2023 Under the setting sun, dozens of men perform funeral prayers for victims only identified by numbers. Sarah Sirgany, CNN, 18 Sep. 2023 Far too often, the humanity of those inside gets shoved aside—or supplanted by numbers—in discussions about the criminal legal system. Abigail Glasgow, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 Aug. 2023 Both Coogler and Curry thrive in industries ruled by numbers—either court stats or box office figures—yet this focus on the quantifiable is what Underrated pushes against. WIRED, 27 July 2023 Wilt Chamberlain, as any casual hoops fan knows, is a legendary figure defined by numbers, fitting given how often he was accused during his career of being all about, well, numbers. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 July 2023 To test this viewpoint, researchers examined the productivity of 600 chemistry labs at UCLA, measured by numbers of scientific publications, before and after a fatality from a 2008 fire led the institution to systematically tighten inspections and rules. Byscience News Staff,, 15 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'by numbers.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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Cite this Entry

“By numbers.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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