go down like ninepins

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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

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