Domino is a gender-neutral name that encourages a masterful approach to life. From the Latin dominus, domino means “lord.” It’s also a nod to the game’s ancient blocking rule that keeps players mindful of their surroundings and the gravity of each move. A domino is always two steps ahead, keeping a keen eye on advantageous opportunities and ensuring that every action has its effect.
A domino is a flat, thumb-sized, rectangular tile that is marked on one face with an arrangement of dots or pips, similar to those on a die. In the most common type of domino (double-six), there are 28 pips that range from six to zero. The other face of the domino is blank or patterned identically. The pips on the domino indicate the order of the results from throwing a single die. The domino may be flipped over to reveal the resulting combinations.
Dominoes are most often used for playing games involving moving or arranging the tiles. Each player takes a turn placing a domino on the table positioning it so that its end touches another domino whose ends show the same value, forming a chain of dominoes. The number of adjacent pairs of pips shows the total value of the chain and may be used for scoring in some games.
The resulting chains of dominoes are often used to create artistic layouts such as straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when the dominoes fall, and 3D structures such as towers or pyramids. A person who makes such designs is a domino artist. Lily Hevesh, a 20-year-old YouTuber who has more than 2 million subscribers, is a prominent domino artist.
Many sets of dominoes are made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory, or dark hardwood such as ebony with black or white inlaid pips. A variety of plastics is also available for use in domino play, and some sets are even crafted from metals such as brass or pewter.
While domino constructions can be a bit labor-intensive, they’re fun for groups of people to set up and then knock over in a cascade. This is what’s known as the domino effect: any action that triggers a series of actions or events, like the fall of a brick in an archway.
Domino is also the name of a software platform that centralizes code execution and data storage so you can track changes, enforce access controls for different collaborators, and merge and detect conflicts. Domino also provides easy self-service web forms to run models and generate reports, so that internal stakeholders can run model inputs and outputs at their own convenience.
The domino was first played in China around the 1300s, although its modern shape dates to the mid-1800s. From there it spread to Italy, then France and England. The first European dominoes were made of wood, but today they’re usually made from polymers such as bakelite, melamine, or styrene.