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Difference between Go down like a lead balloon and Go down like ninepins

go down like a lead balloonfail to have the intended effect; produce disapproval or disappointment:

  • His jokes about women drivers went down like a lead balloon.

Note: The expression is not antonymous in meaning to the phrase balloon goes up, the—used when a situation suddenly becomes serious or critical:

  • The balloon went up when I received a call stating that two foreigners had been detained by border guards.

go down like ninepins

1. be easily overcome:

  • I was a jack of all subjects and a master of none but General Papers went down before me like ninepins.

2. fail in large numbers:

  • During depressions business units went down like ninepins. The commercial banks of the time did little to help.