from the fact that if dominoes are stood on end one slightly behind the other, a slight push on the first will topple the others
First Known Use: 1965
Doctrine of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War, according to which the fall of a noncommunist state to communism would precipitate the fall of other neighbouring noncommunist states. The theory was first enunciated by Pres. Harry Truman, who used it to justify sending U.S. military aid to Greece and Turkey in the late 1940s. Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson invoked it to justify U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia, especially the prosecution of the Vietnam War.