Definitions

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

  • n. A theory that if one nation comes under Communist control, then neighboring nations will also come under Communist control.
  • n. A theory that one event will set off a train of similar events.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The theory that, if South Vietnam fell to Communism, it would be followed by Cambodia, Laos, and additional South Asian countries.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A political theory current in the 1960's, according to which the conversion of one country in South Asia to communism will start a sequential process causing all Asian countries to convert to Communism.

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

  • n. the political theory that if one nation comes under communist control then neighboring nations will also come under communist control

Etymologies

An allusion to a row of dominoes in which the fall of one leads to a cascade of falling pieces. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • With U.S. forces knee-deep in Vietnam and the domino theory still a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy, the CIA began providing covert support to various insurgencies inside Indonesia, and cultivated close links with Indonesia’s military officers, many of whom had been trained in the United States.

    The Audacity of Hope

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