crunch (the) numbers

Meaning(s)

1. work that involves mathematical calculations

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Professional

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crunch the numbers to see if you can afford something

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This informal expression refers to the processing, calculation, or analyzing numerical data, especially in relation to how much money is available or needed for something. When you crunch the numbers you work out the calculation of something. Crunching the numbers often involves boring, time-consuming work that is done by a person or a computer. The term can be used in a social context, especially in relation to personal finances, and professionally with regards to sales, profits, quotas etc. Another informal phrase with a similar meaning is 'do the math,' which tends to be more commonly used in North America.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. I've been crunching the numbers for hours, but I just can't see how we can afford to pay a deposit on a house.
  2. I dropped out of my accountancy course. I couldn't imagine spending my life just being a number-cruncher.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. Person A: "Have you worked out how much we need to sell to break even?" Person B: "No, I'm just about to crunch the numbers now."
  2. I haven't crunched the numbers yet, but I think we made a very tidy profit from that deal.

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