fall like ninepins

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Related to falling like ninepins: dropping like ninepins

fall like ninepins

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

fall like ninepins

or

go down like ninepins

or

drop like ninepins

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
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
References in periodicals archive ?
Alun has always eulogised the guts and gumption of various sportsmen, so it surprises me given Alun's memory for the great deeds of yesteryear that he seems to have forgotten, that in the bearpit of Brookline at the 1999 Ryder Cup, when Europe's finest were falling like ninepins in the singles, Lawrie was grafting for one of only three European wins.
It was all because we kept our composure when the guys were falling like ninepins."
At 8-15 he seems the proverbial good thing, even in a week when seeds have been falling like ninepins.
Jobs are falling like ninepins right across the country, from the prosperous South East to the industrial heartland of Sunderland.
Though Gourlay now spends much of the year playing Down Under, he will carry the weight of expectation of the home crowd in Perth where Scots have been falling like ninepins all week.
Okay, my rivals were falling like ninepins but the fences are there to be jumped.
With Doyen's major challengers falling like ninepins, the 50-point bonus looks a formality - famous last words?