Definition of ninepins in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnīnˌpinz/

plural noun

[usually treated as singular]
1A British game similar to bowling, using nine wooden pins and played in an alley; the traditional form of skittles.
Example sentences
  • The transformation of ninepins to the tenpin game happened in North America, where the original game had also been introduced by the Dutch.
  • 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.
1.1 [treated as plural] The pins used in ninepins.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


go down (or drop or fall) like ninepins

British Succumb in large numbers or without much opposition.
Example sentences
  • However, with back-row players going down like ninepins on tour, wasn't he convinced he would get the call?
  • Once the Games began, weightlifters fell like ninepins.
  • Despite some anomalies - in the number, for instance, of women voters - they seemed to show states falling like ninepins to Kerry.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nine·pins

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