A domino is a rectangular block, usually made of wood or plastic, with a line down the middle that divides it into two square ends. Each end is marked with a number of dots, called pips, that indicate its value. The most popular type of domino has one to six pips on each end, but it is also possible to find sets with more or less. These pips may be used to score points in games, or they can be used to block an opponent’s move. The player who scores the highest number of points in a given number of rounds wins.
A set of dominoes consists of 28 unique pieces, and the game is played by placing them edge to edge against each other in a long row. When the first piece is tipped, it causes the next in the line to tip over, and so on, until all of them have fallen. This process is called a domino effect, and it can lead to amazingly complex designs when the lines are long enough.
Dominos can be stacked in a variety of ways to create curved lines, 3D structures such as towers and pyramids, and even pictures that form when they fall. Some artists even use dominoes to create a musical score. Artist Hevesh uses a version of the engineering-design process to plan out her mind-blowing domino installations. She builds each section separately and tests them, modifying her plan when something doesn’t work. Then she assembles the sections into the final design.
When we refer to a person as a domino, it is often an insult to suggest they have poor judgment or are inconsiderate of others. But this name can be a good choice for a character in a story who is careful not to push too hard, avoiding dramatic consequences that could lead to disaster. For example, the main character in the older Clint Eastwood “Dirty Harry” films might be considered a domino because of his strict moral standards that prevent him from crossing over legal or ethical boundaries.
The word domino originated in France shortly after 1750, and it is believed to be derived from the Latin dominus, meaning “lord” or “master.” An earlier sense of the word denoted a hooded robe worn with an eye mask at a masquerade. It was also used to describe a long, thin, hooded garment worn over a hat in Italy and France during the carnival season. The word is still sometimes used to denote the costume, although this usage is somewhat outdated. It is more commonly used to refer to a game and its associated rules, and it has been incorporated into the names of some companies. Domino is also a popular brand of computer software that helps companies manage and scale their operations. It can be run on-premises or in a fully managed cloud service. It is an open source project, supported by IBM. This means it can be integrated into any infrastructure or application without the need for extensive coding.