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domino theory

1. The political theory that, if one country or area adopts communism, then the surrounding ones will as well. The domino theory was a major concern as the Soviet Union expanded its power after World War II.
2. By extension, the idea that an event in one country will result in similar events in the surrounding countries. The string of revolutions that occurred in neighboring countries during the Arab Spring was a great example of domino theory in action.
See also: domino, theory

domino effect

A phenomenon in which an initial event causes a series of other related events to occur, much like the sequence seen in toppling dominos; a chain reaction. The convenience store's decision to stop selling tobacco products caused a domino effect throughout the industry, leading other chains to quickly follow suit. When I took one book out of the bookcase, it caused a domino effect, causing all of the others to topple over.
See also: domino, effect

fall like dominoes

To fall sequentially. This phrase can be used to describe the physical collapse of something or the defeat of something. If that building collapses, the others around it will fall like dominoes. This movie has been so successful that it's causing box office records to fall like dominoes.
See also: domino, fall, like

a domino effect

COMMON A domino effect is a situation where one event causes a series of similar events. The accident created a domino effect, causing about 10 other bikes to crash and injuring 14 other people. Unused houses deteriorate rapidly, affecting the value of nearby homes; in a domino effect, the entire neighborhood can easily fall victim. Note: This expression was first used in the 1950s by an American political commentator to describe what some people thought would happen if one country in a region became Communist: they believed that the other countries in that area would also `fall' to the Communists. The image is of a row of upright dominoes (= small, rectangular games pieces with different numbers of dots on them); if one falls, it knocks the next one over and so on, until all of them have fallen over.
See also: domino, effect

fall like dominoes

If things fall like dominoes, they are damaged, destroyed or defeated quickly, one after the other. Since he came into the sport, the records have fallen like dominoes. Cities fell like dominoes to the rebels. Note: Other verbs, such as collapse or topple are sometimes used instead of fall. Inflation got out of control and banks started collapsing like dominoes.
See also: domino, fall, like


n. a one-hundred-dollar bill. How many dominos is that going to cost?
References in periodicals archive ?
The game of dominoes has a strong following across the country, and just like our poker coverage, ESPN2 will utilize several camera placements and compelling story telling to entertain our viewers," said Lino Garcia, general manager, ESPN Deportes.
Double-six dominoes are used during the Tournament, the most popular size of dominoes set.
NEW YORK -- Following its groundbreaking effort to bring the game of dominoes to its viewers, ESPN Deportes, ESPN's Spanish-language network, has reached an exclusive agreement with the International Domino Federation to televise rights of the governing body's annual World Domino Championship as well as the federation's national and regional tournaments in the Americas through 2011.
Our commitment in bringing the widely popular game of dominoes to our viewers remains intact," said Lino Garcia, general manager, ESPN Deportes.
Both parties have shown a strong commitment to make dominoes the next mainstream sport on television.
NEW YORK -- In another groundbreaking effort to develop distinct programming initiatives, ESPN Deportes, ESPN's Spanish-language network, has announced that it will bring dominoes to the television screen with its telecast of the 2005 World Domino Tournament, which took place November 18 - 20, in Las Vegas.
Our goal is to make dominoes the next mainstream sport on television.