What is Domino?

Domino is a small block of wood or plastic with either blank sides or surfaces decorated with dots resembling those on dice. It is used in games to build lines or structures like a house, castle, or a tower. It is also a verb, meaning to start or continue a sequence of events, as in, “The domino effect was felt throughout the entire neighborhood.”

Most people are familiar with dominoes as game pieces that can be stacked on end to form long lines. When a domino is tipped over, it can cause the next domino in line to tip, and so on until the entire structure collapses. This type of construction led to the common phrase, “the domino effect,” which refers to any action that causes a chain reaction of greater–and often catastrophic–consequences.

A domino is normally twice as long as it is wide. It features a line down the center to visually divide it into two equal squares, each of which can be adorned with dots or other markings called pips. The value of each side of the domino is determined by the number of pips on it; a domino with more pips has a higher rank, or “weight,” than one with fewer pips.

Physicist Stephen Morris, who describes the process of creating domino sets in his book khushiyonkihomedelivery, explains that when a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy, or stored energy based on its position. When the domino is tipped over, much of this potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion, and some of that energy is transmitted to the next domino to push it over. As each domino falls, it releases its potential energy, and the process continues until all the dominos have fallen.

Dominos can be arranged in a variety of ways to create aesthetically pleasing patterns, from straight lines to curved and 3D designs. They can even be stacked to form towers and pyramids. Domino art can be as simple or elaborate as a person wants it to be, and can help children develop spatial skills.

When playing a domino game, a player must make sure that his or her hand contains all of the necessary tiles to play. When a player cannot play, that person “chips out,” or removes a tile from the table, and the opponent plays his or her turn. Some domino games involve scoring; the winner is the person who has played all of his or her tiles first, and has the least number of pips remaining in his or her hand.

Dominoes can also be a metaphor for storytelling, especially in novels and other genres of writing. A good writer must be careful not to overwrite or muddle the plot, and to avoid introducing scenes that do not advance the story in any way. A domino effect occurs when a scene appears too late in the story, or has little impact on the scene before it.