In House of Cards, Donald has finalized a congress bill and is showing it to Frank Underwood, who thinks the bill is so bad and needs to be modified:

Frank: Tax increases, ban on vouchers, federal oversight, How do you expect me to get that through a committee?

Donald: When Linda told me to write it, she promised ..

Frank: I'm sure she said any number of things. Forget what they promised you, Donald. They want your name because it carries weight.

Can any number possibly mean many?

  • 1
    Yes, any number of can mean the same thing as many. Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


any number refers to a numerous set of possibilities.

He might have left for any number of reasons.

He might have had only one reason to leave, but the list of possible or plausible reasons could be quite large. The speaker doesn't know why he left but could come up with a variety of scenarios that seem plausible.

It's a way of saying "we don't know which one of multiple possibilities".

  • +1 Although "Any number" technically can also mean 1, which is not many.
    – user68365
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 17:42
  • @Khushraj Rathod: Can it also mean zero, "technically"?
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 19:03

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