Definition of domino in US English:



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

    ‘everyone will fall over like a row of dominoes’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A point is scored when a domino is placed that closes off a block.’
    • ‘The impact caused the rest of it to collapse like a row of dominoes.’
    • ‘Any other blank which is led counts as the lowest domino of some other suit.’
    • ‘One knocks down the next, like rows of human dominoes.’
    • ‘The first domino to fall must be him.’
    • ‘To wire wrap your work, place the second and/or third piece of wire through the domino.’
    • ‘The dealer shuffles the dominoes by mixing them thoroughly face down on the table.’
    • ‘When markets fell, their prices collapsed like a row of 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The highest domino of each suit is the double.’
    • ‘The lights on the object gave it an oblong appearance, sort of like a domino with the corners rounded off.’
    • ‘Is this the "first domino" as suggested in the article?’
    • ‘For the last two years large American contractors have watched the dominoes fall.’
    • ‘No matter how bad it seemed it was the domino that tripped the next piece.’
    • ‘Suppose the first domino knocks over the second, which then knocks over the third.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.
      • ‘Suddenly, the quiet game of dominoes is headline news.’
      • ‘He was going to the club to enjoy a pint and game of dominoes.’
      • ‘My mum and dad told me that they would play dominoes with me.’
      • ‘There isn't enough available floor space even for a spirited game of dominoes.’
      • ‘For men, a typical social game is dominoes or cards.’
      • ‘I'm almost thirty and I still have no clue how to play dominoes.’
      • ‘We were in the middle of playing dominoes and realized what time it was.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He put together his facility's security plan like he was playing dominoes.’
      • ‘Some sat in the galley, playing cards or dominoes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the evening most stayed around talking, getting to know one another, and participating in the nightly games of dominoes.’
      • ‘He played for the darts team and filled in on the dominoes team when we were short.’
      • ‘He took over at the pub about two years ago and introduced a pool and dominoes team.’
      • ‘It was an interruption of his concentration upon the interminable playing of dominoes, or cards, or throwing dice.’
      • ‘At night, his teammates help him pass the time in his house, playing cards, dominoes and video games.’
      • ‘The pub's dominoes team has been told it can only play on Mondays.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At other times they sit outside on the shady terrace, playing cards or dominoes, the same easy laughter floating through the lazy air.’
  • 2historical A loose cloak, worn with a mask for the upper part of the face at masquerades.

    • ‘She asked, her hazel eyes peering out from the domino mask.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On her face is a domino mask decorated to look like a bird's face and beak.’
    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’.