domino (n.) Look up domino at
1801, from French domino (1771), perhaps (on comparison of the black tiles of the game) from the meaning "hood with a cloak worn by canons or priests" (1690s), from Latin dominus "lord, master" (see domain), but the connection is not clear. Klein thinks it might be directly from dominus, "because he who has first disposed his pieces becomes 'the master.' " Metaphoric use in geopolitics is from April 1954, first used by U.S. President Eisenhower in a "New York Times" piece, in reference to what happens when you set up a row of dominos and knock the first one down.