domino effect


Definition of domino effect 

: a cumulative effect produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events — compare ripple effect

Examples of domino effect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

So the Chiefs traded Smith to the Redskins, setting off a domino effect across the league. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The NFL’s Quarterback Musical Chairs," 10 Sep. 2018 When top aides have left in the past, some of their subordinates followed them out the door, creating a domino effect that is expected to play out with Mr. Kelly’s departure. Michael C. Bender, WSJ, "Trump: Chief of Staff John Kelly to Leave Toward Year-End," 8 Dec. 2018 There’s a wide range of triggers that can spark asthma’s domino effect, but some are more common than others. Korin Miller, SELF, "Hey, Biology Buffs, Here’s Exactly How Asthma Works in the Human Body," 20 July 2018 This graphic from regional Internet registry RIPE NCC shows how the domino effect played out over a two-hour span. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Google goes down after major BGP mishap routes traffic through China," 12 Nov. 2018 In other words, the deal in Berlin may not pacify the CSU and risks unleashing precisely the domino effect of unilateral actions that Mrs Merkel most feared. The Economist, "Angela Merkel’s flawed deal on migrants," 5 July 2018 As Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor escorted the adorable group into Windsor Chapel, one tiny page boy, Louis de Givenchy, tripped and fell, causing a domino effect that led to almost everybody almost-falling over. The Editors, Marie Claire, "A Page Boy at Princess Eugenie's Wedding Recovered Like a Champ After Tripping Up," 12 Oct. 2018 The crash had a domino effect, leaving tourists farther up the route stranded at train stations well into the night. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Machu Picchu Train Crash Injures Dozens," 1 Aug. 2018 For some companies, the tariffs have created a complex domino effect. Hema Parmar,, "Iconic brands feel tariff pain, and corporate America braces for more," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'domino effect.' 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 effect

1966, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for domino effect

The first known use of domino effect was in 1966

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More Definitions for domino effect

domino effect


English Language Learners Definition of domino effect

: a situation in which one event causes a series of similar events to happen one after another

More from Merriam-Webster on domino effect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with domino effect Encyclopedia article about domino effect

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a person who helps groups work together

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