Domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, each end of which is marked with a number of spots, like those on dice. One such domino, if tipped over, will trigger the falling of other dominoes, and so on. The resulting chain reaction is the source of domino games, which are played by many people worldwide. These games are often based on strategy, skill, or chance and can range from simple blocking or scoring games to complex arcing layouts that form pictures when they fall.
The word domino is also used in figurative contexts, indicating the effect of a small action or event on something larger, such as an entire country or society. It’s also a common metaphor for an idea or belief that starts out small and spreads like wildfire. For example, the Domino Effect suggests that once someone commits to a habit in one area, it quickly becomes ingrained and spreads to other areas of their life. Jennifer Dukes Lee is an example of this: once she began making her bed each day, it didn’t take long before she committed to the habit in other areas of her home as well.
A physicist explains the reason that dominoes can create such a large chain reaction: they’re able to do so because of gravity. When a domino is set up, the force of gravity causes it to stand upright. This gives the domino potential energy, which is stored in its position. When the domino is tipped over, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy, which propels it forward. The resulting chain of events causes all the other dominoes to tip over as well.
There are many different types of domino sets, including traditional Western dominoes that have been around since the mid-18th century. These are characterized by having a unique piece for each of the possible combinations of six numbers on their ends (called pips). Some dominoes have two matching sides that connect to one another, called doubles; additional tiles may be placed to these doubles in some games.
Other dominoes are crafted from natural materials, such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or dark hardwoods such as ebony; some have contrasting black or white pips inlaid in the surface of the dominoes. They are usually heavier than polymer sets and more expensive, but are popular with collectors.
In addition to playing dominoes, they can be arranged in curved lines or arcs to form 3-D art, and can be stacked on top of each other to create walls or pyramids. The possibilities are nearly endless, and some artists even use them to illustrate mathematical formulas or scientific theories. Some are so skilled at creating domino artwork that they have been hired by movie directors, TV producers, and celebrities to create elaborate displays for special events or to promote products. Others have created YouTube channels to show off their skills and share their designs with the world.