numbers, the n.
1. [late 19C+] (US gambling) a popular form of street gambling called Policy, which involves predicting a combination of the winning numbers (between 000 and 999) at a racetrack, esp. widespread in US black community.
2. attrib. use of sense 1.
[1930s+] one who runs a numbers lottery.
[1970s] the office where the numbers ‘racket’ is run.
[1940s+] laying odds and betting on numbers.
[1950s+] one who takes the money from individual bettors and who delivers any payouts.
1. to make a successful bet on the numbers game.
2. to be successful, in a non-gambling context.