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go down like ninepins

To succumb to a particular problem, often an illness. This phrase is typically only used when more than one person has been adversely affected. Ninepins is a game that is similar to bowling. Primarily heard in UK. Now that the flu is going through our school, people are going down like ninepins.
See also: down, like, ninepin

fall like ninepins


go down like ninepins


drop like ninepins

If people or things fall like ninepins, go down like ninepins or drop like ninepins, a lot of them are very quickly injured, killed or destroyed. Sgt Russell Smith, 35, told of his terror at seeing officers `falling like ninepins'. There was a time when Liverpool players never seemed to get injured, but now they're going down like ninepins. Note: Ninepins are skittles.
See also: fall, like, ninepin

go down (or drop or fall) like ninepins

topple or succumb in large numbers.
1994 Beryl Gilroy Sunlight on Sweet Water They were falling like ninepins to the wizardry of our fast bowler, Bachan.
See also: down, like, ninepin

ˌgo down, ˌdrop, etc. like ˈninepins

1 (of large numbers of people) become ill/sick, be killed or die at the same time: In last year’s flu epidemic both children and teachers at this school were going down like ninepins.As the enemy advanced, men and horses went down like ninepins.
2 (of businesses, etc.) fail, go out of business, etc: Small businesses are going down like ninepins at the moment.
In the game of ninepins, you roll a ball towards a group of nine wooden objects (= skittles) in order to knock down as many of them as possible.
See also: like, ninepin
References in periodicals archive ?
In this case, that something is Fourth Generation war, which is knocking Middle Eastern states down like ninepins.
Another lone hand in a losing cause, as his cavalier teammates fell like ninepins around him.
Gangsters fall like ninepins as our hero ploughs through their ranks.
Tenders are invited for Control valves angular DN32 PN160 with electric powered two pieces, the shut-off valves straight NO40 NP400/IX hand with the ends for welding four pieces, shut-off valves straight NO6 NP400/IX hand with the ends for welding four pieces, Kegl valve No40 Np400/IX 50 pieces, ninepins valve No50 Np400/IX 50 komadazaporne seal safety valve MPR unit in block 7 (pos 14,15 and 19) 3 sets, all in accordance with the technical specification, which is an integral part of the tender documents.
Aside from dolls, there were also the Knockemdown Ninepins, a pink rabbit-shaped tea set, a pair of velvet shoes, a doll house, jigsaws, train sets and more.
Many in the farming community say they are caught in a price vice wielded by the corporate players that makes dairy farming unsustainable, a contention given credibility by the fact that dairy farms are falling like ninepins.
Like ninepins, the old men fell before the onslaught of domino ignorance: the Lawnmower Saleman left squawking that he had been beaten by a novice so young he had never been in a pub before.
Now, with top three-year-olds toppling like ninepins in the States, the stage looks wide open for Alpha to record his first top-level success in the hands of champion jockey Ramon Dominguez.
Perez's Japanese teammate Kamui Kobayashi provided another moment of drama when he overshot his mark at the pit stop and sent mechanics sprawling like ninepins, without suffering serious injury.
Wickets tumbled like ninepins as leaders Dafen were dismissed for 131 by BS Port Talbot.
India completely lost their way as wickets fell like ninepins to a stunned silence at the VCA Stadium, with speedster Dale Steyn, who went for 24 off his first three overs, causing the most damage to end with a five-wicket haul for 50 runs.
A few days ago, hysterical headlines were predicting another global economic crash with banks worldwide falling like ninepins.
As the subprime crisis took its toll and banks began falling like ninepins, the magic of Wall Street disappeared almost overnight.