Definition of domino theory in US English:

domino theory


  • The theory that a political event in one country will cause similar events in neighboring countries, like a falling domino causing an entire row of upended dominoes to fall.

    • ‘Rather than joining to squash the capitalist West, as the domino theory argued, these revolutionized countries most often battled one another.’
    • ‘In all fairness to Kissinger on this one, the domino theory was an article of faith back then.’
    • ‘Morris shows us lines of rising and falling dominoes set up over a map of South-East Asia so we can visualise the domino theory - the recurring nightmare of the 1950s and 1960s.’
    • ‘The first, usually called the domino theory, held that the fall of Vietnam could cause the fall of all Indochina and then the rest of Southeast Asia, with repercussions extending west to India and east to Japan and the Philippines.’
    • ‘The domino theory may not have worked well for John Foster Dulles, but it is an apt metaphor for how conservative critics are inching down the media archipelago.’
    • ‘If Laos fell to the Communists, Thailand might be next, according to the domino theory.’
    • ‘But now, 30 years later, he seems to be doing the same thing except that this time he's accepting the new conventional wisdom that the domino theory was overblown.’
    • ‘So the domino theory was a rather coarse cliché that was never going to play out.’
    • ‘Before the war, he was a proponent of the democracy domino theory.’
    • ‘So there is a domino theory at work here, as I think I've pointed out - just not the one they envisioned.’
    • ‘The domino theory made limited sense to them at the time.’
    • ‘Not only was the domino theory correct, we also had a treaty with the sovereign state of South Vietnam.’
    • ‘And it is the domino theory, and they genuinely believe it.’
    • ‘You know, the old domino theory in Vietnam proved not to be right.’
    • ‘America was still hampered by her support of the domino theory but the war had become very unpopular at home and the politicians were aware of the views of the voting population.’
    • ‘Well, of course the domino theory proved to be wrong.’
    • ‘This fight is not based on some esoteric theoretical threat like the domino theory.’
    • ‘The Journal editorial writers fervently promote what used to be called the domino theory.’
    • ‘If failed states facilitate terrorist organization, than the spread of regional instability would seem to fulfill the second assumption you list as critical to the domino theory.’
    • ‘We had a flawed strategy, the so-called domino theory.’


domino theory

/ˈdäməˌnō ˌTHirē//ˈdɑməˌnoʊ ˌθɪri/