like rats deserting a sinking ship

like rats deserting a sinking ship

With great haste and having only personal wellbeing in mind. (Typically said of people who begin abandoning something or someone that is failing or about to fail.) I knew the business was doomed when employees started quitting en masse, like rats deserting a sinking ship. Like rats deserting a sinking ship, the disgraced athlete's corporate sponsors began pulling their sponsorships one after another.
See also: desert, like, rat, ship, sink
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

like rats deserting a sinking ship

or

like rats leaving a sinking ship

If you describe people who are leaving an organization as being like rats deserting a sinking ship or like rats leaving a sinking ship, you mean they are leaving very quickly because the organization is failing. They abandoned their former colleagues and party like rats deserting a sinking ship. Nelson and Woodward are like rats leaving a sinking ship. Loyalty is not a word they understand. Note: This expression is often used in a disapproving way.
See also: desert, like, rat, ship, sink
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
"They are like rats deserting a sinking ship. They should be ashamed of themselves because they have left 700 working class folk on the dole."
Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham, is absolutely right to point out that core voters are abandoning Labour like rats deserting a sinking ship.
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