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

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 first domino to fall in this economic cycle was a spike in prices last year. Emily Wright, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Turns out, the first domino to fall was the man responsible for devising the schemes and setting the rotations. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 June 2022 That blockbuster move signaled Utah was eyeing a total rebuild, meaning that Mitchell was likely the next domino to fall., 1 Sep. 2022 That's pushing investors and policymakers to ask whether Sri Lanka is just the first domino to fall. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 7 Aug. 2022 McLaurin now has the long-term security his play has merited, and Samuel is theoretically the next domino to fall. Nicholas Mcgee, Forbes, 29 June 2022 After Colombia, Brazil could be the next domino to fall in a leftward direction if early polls in Brazil are to be believed for the upcoming October presidential election. Fox News, 18 June 2022 Missing even one is like knocking over the first domino in a row—and can leave a child not just underprotected against illnesses, but ineligible for school. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, 2 Mar. 2022 Jonna finishes her puzzle and takes off, with Brad next, as Wes arrives to another puzzle-type of checkpoint where players must stack mini wood blocks domino-style in the shape of the top of a star. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 6 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for domino

Time Traveler

The first known use of domino was circa 1694

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Dictionary Entries Near domino

dominium utile


domino bridge

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Statistics for domino

Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Domino.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for domino


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 )


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