A domino is a small rectangular block used for gaming. These blocks, also called bones, cards, men, or pieces, are typically marked on one side with an arrangement of dots resembling those found on dice. The other sides are blank or identically patterned. The number of pips on a domino is usually indicated by the term “rank” or “weight.” The higher the rank or weight, the more valuable a domino is.
Dominos are used to play games involving positioning, blocking, or scoring. In a game of positional domino, each player in turn places a domino edge to edge with another in a line that forms a specified total. The first person to do so wins the game. The shape of the developing chain, which develops snake-like as more tiles are placed, provides a part of the fun and the challenge.
In addition to traditional domino games, many people use dominoes as art. A domino artist, a term coined by YouTuber Hevesh, creates elaborate and sometimes precarious arrangements of these small blocks. The beauty of Hevesh’s work lies in how she manipulates the laws of physics to bring about each domino effect—often to the delight of an audience.
To create such designs, Hevesh uses many different tools and methods. But she says there is one physical phenomenon that’s essential: gravity. The force that pulls a knocked-over domino toward the ground allows it to crash into the next domino in the line, triggering an almost instantaneous chain reaction. The larger a domino set is, the more impressive the display.
The word “domino” is often used as a metaphor for any situation or event that has the potential to have an impact on a larger system. When someone suggests that a new policy will have domino effects, they mean that the policy should be cautiously considered because it may cause other issues to emerge.
From the Latin dominus, domino means lord or master, so this name is fitting for someone who appreciates the gravity of each move—in the literal sense of the phrase. And the fact that the name’s roots are tied to the ancient game of domino reinforces its meaning as a reminder of the importance of thinking ahead and considering the impact of your actions.
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A domino is a small rectangular block with a pattern of dots on both sides that can be flipped over to begin a chain reaction of events. Dominoes are used in games such as Mexican Train and Twenty-One, among others. In the latter, a player starts by placing one domino on the edge of the table. Other players then follow in order, placing their dominoes on top of the original one so that the edges are touching in a straight or curved line. When a player cannot place a domino, they must draw from the stock until they have a tile with matching ends.