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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

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

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012


n. a one-hundred-dollar bill. How many dominos is that going to cost?
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The following chapters examine how the effects of the shale revolution are playing out on the world stage, and which dominoes can be expected to fall next and why.
The selection of Puremco products includes dominoes from Double 6 to Double 18, Number Dominoes and the original authorized games of Chickenfoot, Mexican Train, Spinner, SuperTrain and the unique Texas Hold'Em CARDominoes.
Involving varying degrees of strategy, the only limitation to the games that you play with dominoes is your imagination.
To bring this new, fun and unique set of dominoes to market, GATS Games needs support and backing.
While the team set up 277,275 dominoes, only 272,000 actually fell - which was still more than enough to break the previous record.
Parker Charter Essential School, at Devens, got addicted to dominoes a couple of years ago while watching videos on YouTube.
2 Instruct them to make 'domino trains' with a different number of dominoes and totals; e.g., "Can you make a train that is 5 dominoes long and adds up to 15?"
The game of dominoes we play today did not appear in Europe until the early 18th Century and soon spread rapidly, becoming one of the most popular games in both family homes and pubs.
Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam did fall like dominoes. Millions were slaughtered, and the survivors were enslaved in concentration camps.
Saunders won 4-2 at crib, but the home side took the darts by the same score and the dominoes ended all square.
If petite Kylie gets it right, the rest of the dominoes should take 80 minutes to topple and smash the existing world record, which stands at just a spot over 2.75 million.
No more "gold" dominoes. Fondly referred to by the plaintiffs bar as the "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," the attorneys' fee provision entitled many attorneys in the past to an amount over and above the recovery record.
More than 20,000 dominoes representing the seven continents toppled over the course of about two minutes Saturday night during a demonstration at Berlin Memorial School.
Saunders won all six games on the oche at home to Old Chequers and 5- 1 at crib, but the visitors pegged the dominoes, also 5-1.