dom·​i·​no | \ ˈdä-mə-ˌnō How to pronounce domino (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The Old West town with a church, saloon, and clubhouse where Nelson likes to play poker and dominoes with friends was built 35 years ago for the filming of Red Headed Stranger. Kristen O'brien,, "Willie Nelson Looks Back at Himself in Red Headed Stranger, Joking 'Who Is That Old Bastard?'," 9 July 2019 With both Leonard and Durant scheduled for meetings with multiple suitors, the rest of the league — including the Spurs — begin July in a holding pattern awaiting those two dominoes to fall. Jeff Mcdonald,, "Spurs set for quiet start to free agency," 29 June 2019 Anybody who knows anything about City Hall and the feds, and the way dominoes fall along the Chicago Way, knew it. John Kass,, "Column: After indictment of Ald. Ed Burke, City Hall not surprised when feds raid offices of Ald. Carrie Austin," 20 June 2019 And when the kids start talking, the dominoes start to fall. Aja Romano, Vox, "Big Little Lies season 2, episode 2: “Tell-Tale Hearts” asks if families can survive their own secrets," 17 June 2019 Thick slices of fish are arrayed like dominoes on the plate, topped with fronds of dill and dots of vegan mayonnaise, and served with pickled vegetables: the makings of a pastrami sandwich, except very much not. Globe Staff,, "At Kamakura, dinner is part 10-course tone poem, part sake crash course," 18 June 2019 There’s an outside chance, too, that there might be some playing of some Mexican Train dominoes. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Father’s Day special for Katy’s Golbow family," 16 June 2019 In checkers, gin rummy, Parcheesi, dominoes and, sometimes, tennis. Laura Lippman, Glamour, "The Pleasure of Being Mediocre," 2 May 2019 Plus flaunting our abundant liquid worth on dice, dominoes, or spades bets. Mitchell S. Jackson, Harper's magazine, "Opportunity Cost," 10 Feb. 2019

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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about domino

Statistics for domino

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for domino

The first known use of domino was circa 1694

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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
: a game played with dominoes


dom·​i·​no | \ ˈdä-mə-ˌnō How to pronounce domino (audio) \
plural dominoes or dominos

Kids Definition of domino

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on domino

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with domino

Spanish Central: Translation of domino

Nglish: Translation of domino for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of domino for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about domino

Comments on domino

What made you want to look up domino? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!