dom·​i·​no | \ˈdä-mə-ˌnō \
plural dominoes or dominos

Definition of domino 

1a(1) : a long loose hooded cloak usually worn with a half mask as a masquerade costume

(2) : a half mask worn over the eyes with a masquerade costume

b : a person wearing a domino

2a : a flat rectangular block (as of wood or plastic) whose face is divided into two equal parts that are blank or bear usually from one to six dots arranged as on dice faces

b dominoes or dominos plural in form but usually singular in construction : any of several games played with a set of usually 28 dominoes

3 : a member of a group (as of nations) expected to behave in accordance with the domino theory

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The History of Domino

The origin of dominoes is rather obscure, and that is as true of the word as it is of the game. Both appeared in France shortly after 1750. In both English and French, domino earlier denoted a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. It is an even earlier sense, however, that may link the garment with the playing piece. In French, domino originally referred to a cape worn by a priest over his surplice. Domino pieces were once made with ebony blacks and ivory faces, and it has been suggested that the playing piece brought to mind the priest’s black domino contrasting with the white surplice.

Examples of domino in a Sentence

Dominoes is one of my favorite games.

Recent Examples on the Web

So, yes, the road to cap space a year from now could be as simple as those three dominoes falling. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Can Heat get Whiteside, Dragic to opt out in 2019?," 2 May 2018 The highlight comes when Joey Fatone woefully knocks over a row of dominoes that spells out *NSYNC. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, "The 10 Greatest Boy Band Videos of the TRL Era," 27 Apr. 2018 The dominoes continue to fall after the founder and former chief executive officer of Papa John’s used a racial slur in describing slow sales. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "What do the Miami Marlins think of Papa John’s founder’s apology? You’re out!," 12 July 2018 The dominoes around the league will fall after those decisions are made in July, but the decisions at the draft will show where those teams believe they’re heading. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Here's who makes the most sense for the Pacers in the NBA Draft," 19 June 2018 Images showed the floors falling on themselves like dominoes and debris flying in all directions. Washington Post, "‘Occupied’ Sao Paulo high rise collapses amid fire, 1 dead," 1 May 2018 There's always a class going on at the center for the community to enjoy such as yoga, quilting, karate, dominoes and canasta. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "Huffman history: May Community Center hosts events near Lake Houston," 14 Mar. 2018 While there are still a few high-profile dominoes to fall, many of us will turn diminishing attention spans will turn to the draft. Conor Orr,, "NFL Free Agency: The Best, Worst and Most Surprising Moves So Far," 19 Mar. 2018 But for the sports world, that contest is just the first domino. Jacob Feldman,, "Five Potential Buyers for Fox's 22 Regional Sports Networks," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'domino.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of domino

circa 1694, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for domino

French, probably from Latin (in the ritual formula benedicamus Domino let us bless the Lord)

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Statistics for domino

Last Updated

27 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for domino

The first known use of domino was circa 1694

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More Definitions for domino



English Language Learners Definition of domino

: a small flat rectangular block made of wood or plastic that has one or more dots on one side and that is used in playing games

dominoes : a game played with dominoes


dom·​i·​no | \ˈdä-mə-ˌnō \
plural dominoes or dominos

Kids Definition of domino

: one of a set of flat oblong dotted pieces used in playing a game ( dominoes )

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