Definition of domino in US English:


nounPlural dominoes

  • 1Any of 28 small oblong pieces marked with 0–6 dots (pips) in each half.

    • ‘No matter how bad it seemed it was the domino that tripped the next piece.’
    • ‘One knocks down the next, like rows of human dominoes.’
    • ‘Is this the "first domino" as suggested in the article?’
    • ‘The highest domino of each suit is the double.’
    • ‘One piece gets knocked aside and you're trapped in a row of falling dominoes.’
    • ‘I assumed he had won, and so I proceeded to shuffle the dominoes.’
    • ‘It incorporates elements of both standard playing cards and dominoes, and with the right group of gamers to support it and invent new games for it, it could go far.’
    • ‘Originally, each domino represented a throw of two dice, so each end of the domino has from one to six spots, giving 21 possibilities in all.’
    • ‘The lights on the object gave it an oblong appearance, sort of like a domino with the corners rounded off.’
    • ‘Any other blank which is led counts as the lowest domino of some other suit.’
    • ‘When markets fell, their prices collapsed like a row of dominoes.’
    • ‘Suppose the first domino knocks over the second, which then knocks over the third.’
    • ‘The dealer shuffles the dominoes by mixing them thoroughly face down on the table.’
    • ‘For the last two years large American contractors have watched the dominoes fall.’
    • ‘The first domino to fall must be him.’
    • ‘The impact caused the rest of it to collapse like a row of dominoes.’
    • ‘The document then analyses three countries (Britain, Spain and Poland) in depth, with a view to identifying the weakest link or the domino piece most likely to fall first.’
    • ‘To wire wrap your work, place the second and/or third piece of wire through the domino.’
    • ‘A point is scored when a domino is placed that closes off a block.’
    1. 1.1dominoestreated as singular The game played with domino pieces, in which they are laid down to form a line, each player in turn trying to find and lay down a domino with a value matched by that of a piece at either end of the line already formed.
      • ‘He played for the darts team and filled in on the dominoes team when we were short.’
      • ‘At night, his teammates help him pass the time in his house, playing cards, dominoes and video games.’
      • ‘In the evening most stayed around talking, getting to know one another, and participating in the nightly games of dominoes.’
      • ‘For men, a typical social game is dominoes or cards.’
      • ‘He took over at the pub about two years ago and introduced a pool and dominoes team.’
      • ‘He was going to the club to enjoy a pint and game of dominoes.’
      • ‘Suddenly, the quiet game of dominoes is headline news.’
      • ‘There is a live act every Saturday evening while Friday is devoted to games like dominoes, pool and darts.’
      • ‘Four local men at the table turn as I close the door behind me, and nod their greeting, before returning to their game of dominoes.’
      • ‘Some are deeply saddened, saying the village has lost an important meeting place where residents could go for a pint, a chat and a game of dominoes.’
      • ‘There isn't enough available floor space even for a spirited game of dominoes.’
      • ‘It was an interruption of his concentration upon the interminable playing of dominoes, or cards, or throwing dice.’
      • ‘At other times they sit outside on the shady terrace, playing cards or dominoes, the same easy laughter floating through the lazy air.’
      • ‘My mum and dad told me that they would play dominoes with me.’
      • ‘Anyway, next time we hook up for a pint and a game of dominoes we can go over these things in a bit more depth.’
      • ‘We were in the middle of playing dominoes and realized what time it was.’
      • ‘Some sat in the galley, playing cards or dominoes.’
      • ‘I'm almost thirty and I still have no clue how to play dominoes.’
      • ‘The pub's dominoes team has been told it can only play on Mondays.’
      • ‘He put together his facility's security plan like he was playing dominoes.’
  • 2historical A loose cloak, worn with a mask for the upper part of the face at masquerades.

    • ‘The device beeped twice as the display lit up, revealing the face of a young woman in a domino mask.’
    • ‘The only way to differentiate between them was their domino masks.’
    • ‘On her face is a domino mask decorated to look like a bird's face and beak.’
    • ‘She asked, her hazel eyes peering out from the domino mask.’
    • ‘There's a sense that possibly everyone knows who you are, yet wearing a mask (even a domino!) allows you to act differently from the way you might normally act.’
    disguise, veil, false face, stocking mask, fancy dress
    View synonyms


Late 17th century: from French, denoting a hood worn by priests in winter, probably based on Latin dominus ‘lord, master’.