Definition of ninepins in English:


plural noun

  • 1usually treated as singular The traditional form of the game of skittles, using nine pins and played in an alley.

    • ‘Not much has changed since Connecticut banned ninepins in 1841.’
    • ‘I doubt we'll get any rain out of it, but I like to listen to Rip Van Winkle and the boys playing ninepins all the same.’
    • ‘The transformation of ninepins to the tenpin game happened in North America, where the original game had also been introduced by the Dutch.’
    1. 1.1treated as plural Skittles used in the game of ninepins.
      • ‘The series has its fans for one reason: scattering hordes of goons like a bowling ball through ninepins can be gratifying; and, as your efforts control the ebb and flow of battle, there is a surprising level of tactical thought involved.’
      • ‘Orders for games included 48 chessboards and chessmen, 12 sets of fox and geese, 6 sets of jackstraws, 9 boxes of ninepins, and 3 sets of German tactics.’
      • ‘Treat men as pawns and ninepins, and you shall suffer, as well as they.’
      • ‘Well, imagine some of the greatest men in France as these ninepins and then this Monsieur Caratal was the ball which could be seen coming from far away.’


  • go down (or drop or fall) like ninepins

    • Succumb in large numbers or with little resistance.

      ‘men and horses went down like ninepins before them’
      • ‘Despite some anomalies - in the number, for instance, of women voters - they seemed to show states falling like ninepins to Kerry.’
      • ‘With office staff dropping like ninepins, it was at least some consolation that enough administrative staff were still standing in order to get the game called off in time.’
      • ‘According to information received at The Register, the regional aggregation boards are falling like ninepins.’
      • ‘The second period saw players falling like ninepins as cramp began to bite at weary limbs.’
      • ‘The rush became a flood after the fiasco of Humanae Vitae in 1968 and seminaries, novitiates and training colleges fell like ninepins as many, if not most, priests, brothers and nuns chose lay life at a rate not seen since the Reformation.’
      • ‘Understandably, since she delivers on time and in full, the fellas fall like ninepins.’
      • ‘However, with back-row players going down like ninepins on tour, wasn't he convinced he would get the call?’
      • ‘From Christie's Impressionist and Modern art sale on 4 May onwards, records began to fall like ninepins.’
      • ‘Worse followed when marines started dropping like ninepins from a mysterious illness which Curry described as ‘a form of enteritis’.’
      • ‘Once the Games began, weightlifters fell like ninepins.’