Dom"i*no (?), n.; pl. Dominos or (esp. the pieces for a game) Dominoes (#). [F. domino, or It. domin(o), or Sp. domino, fr. L. dominus master. The domino was orig. a hood worn by the canons of a cathedral. See Don, Dame.]


A kind of hood worn by the canons of a cathedral church; a sort of amice.



A mourning veil formerly worn by women.


A kind of mask; particularly, a half mask worn at masquerades, to conceal the upper part of the face. Dominos were formerly worn by ladies in traveling.


A costume worn as a disguise at masquerades, consisting of a robe with a hood adjustable at pleasure.


A person wearing a domino.

6. pl.

A game played by two or more persons, with twenty-eight pieces of wood, bone, or ivory, of a flat, oblong shape, plain at the back, but on the face divided by a line in the middle, and either left blank or variously dotted after the manner of dice. The game is played by matching the spots or the blank of an unmatched half of a domino already played



One of the pieces with which the game of dominoes is played.


<-- fall like dominoes. To fall sequentially, as when one object in a line, by falling against the next object, causes it in turn to fall, and that second object causes a third to fall, etc.; the process can be repeated an indefinite number of times. Derived from an entertainment using dominoes arranged in a row, each standing on edge and therefore easily knocked over; when the first is made to fall against the next, it starts a sequence which ends when all have fallen. For amusement, people have arranged such sequences involving thousands of dominoes, arrayed in fanciful patterns.

Domino theory. A political theory current in the 1960's, according to which the conversion of one country in South Asia to communism will start a sequential process causing all Asian countries to convert to Communism. The apparent assumption was that an Asian country with a Western orientation was as politically unstable as a domino standing on edge. Used by some as a justification for American involvement in the Vietnam war, 1964-1972. -->


© Webster 1913.