domino (n.)

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" (from domus "house," from PIE root *dem- "house, household"), 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.

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