from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events: the domino effect of increasing the speed limit in one of several contiguous states.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The situation in which one event sets off a chain of additional events.
  • n. The theory that, if South Vietnam fell to Communism, it would be followed by Cambodia, Laos, and additional South Asian countries.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the consequence of one event setting off a chain of similar events (like a falling domino causing a whole row of upended dominos to fall)


From the fact that a row of dominoes stood on end will fall in succession if the first one is knocked over.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
An allusion to a row of dominoes in which the fall of one leads to a cascade of falling pieces (Wiktionary)


  • Citibank was trying to avoid Zaïre’s default on its external debt, which could have a domino effect on Third World lending.

    Strategic Management in Developing Countries Case Studies

  • As other rationales for the Iraq War evaporated—WMD, peace between Israel and the Palestinians, a democratic domino effect around the Middle East—the administration and some in the U.S. military started trying to make a virtue of the fact that foreign jihadists were flocking to the Iraq conflict, leaning on the so-called “flypaper” theory that terrorists would be drawn to Iraq like bugs to a strip, only to be killed or captured there.

    The Longest War


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    The world's longest palindrome was recorded recently when every son and daughter on the planet called, one after another, for their mother.

    February 1, 2008