Dominoes are a fun way to learn basic geometry and math. Kids enjoy setting up the tiles in straight or curved lines, flicking them to watch them fall, and seeing how each piece naturally influences the next, like one domino knocks down another. They can also create elaborate pieces of domino art, such as a grid that forms a picture when the tiles are set up or 3D structures like towers and pyramids. Some professional domino artists even create domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events.

A domino is a small rectangular block, about the size of a thumb, with either one or two ends that are blank or marked by dots resembling those on dice. Twenty-eight such blocks make up a complete set of dominoes. When used with a verb, the term domino means “to place a domino edge to edge against another domino so that its ends are identical or form some specified total.”

One of the most common uses of the word is in the idiom domino effect, which describes a situation in which one event triggers a series of related events. For example, when someone starts to exercise more regularly, they may also change their diet or sleep habits. These changes may seem minor, but they can have a positive impact on the person’s overall health and well-being.

In the world of business, the term domino has come to mean a chain reaction that results in significant financial gain or loss for an organization. For example, if a company announces plans to cut jobs, it is likely that this will lead to employee layoffs and budget cuts that will affect the bottom line. The company’s stock price may drop as a result of these repercussions.

The popularity of dominoes has given rise to many games involving them. In some of these, players take turns laying down dominoes in a line or an angular pattern. A player wins the game when all of their tiles are out or all of the other players have a single tile remaining in their hand. Seating arrangements are usually determined by lot after the tiles are shuffled and re-drawn. The player who draws the domino with the highest value has first choice of seats.

Some domino games are of a very different nature, such as solitaire or trick-taking. These types of games were once popular in some places to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.

The most common type of domino game is a blocking and scoring game that is played with a double-twelve or double-nine domino set. The players pick twelve tiles each from the set and then arrange them so that one side of each is touching another, or “matched.” A tile with more pips is considered to be a heavier or higher domino than a tile with fewer pips. This configuration of matching tiles is then called the layout, string, or line of play. The first player to play a double, which is sometimes referred to as the lead, is said to have laid down the “domino.” When the lead is played, the other players must follow suit and match that piece.

The Meaning and Implications of Dominoes