Domino effect

Domino effect
Domino effect events
(Top) Dominoes are standing. (Bottom) Dominoes are in motion.

The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes. It typically refers to a linked sequence of events where the time between successive events is relatively small. It can be used literally (an observed series of actual collisions) or metaphorically (causal linkages within systems such as global finance or politics).

Demonstrations of the effect

The classic demonstration involves setting up a chain of dominoes stood on end, and toppling the first domino. That domino topples the one next to it, and so on. In theory, however long the chain the dominoes will still fall. This is because the energy required to topple each domino is less than the energy transferred by each impact, so the chain is self-sustaining. Energy is stored by setting each domino in the metastable upright position, and that energy is what keeps the chain toppling. The mechanics of domino toppling is described by W. J. Stronge as a system with two attractors. Two theories are described: independent action and successive destabilization by cooperative neighbors.

Often Rube Goldberg machines will involve a complicated chain of reactions succeeding each other in a domino fashion.

See also

Relevant physical theory:

Mathematical theory

Political theory


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • domino effect — ► NOUN ▪ the hypothetical influence of political events in one country upon its neighbours …   English terms dictionary

  • domino effect — noun the consequence of one event setting off a chain of similar events (like a falling domino causing a whole row of upended dominos to fall) • Usage Domain: ↑trope, ↑figure of speech, ↑figure, ↑image • Hypernyms: ↑consequence, ↑effect, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • domino effect — N SING If one event causes another similar event, which in turn causes another event, and so on, you can refer to this as a domino effect. The timetable for trains is so tight that if one is a bit late, the domino effect is enormous. Syn: knock… …   English dictionary

  • domino effect — /ˈdɒmənoʊ əfɛkt/ (say domuhnoh uhfekt) noun an effect whereby one event or action triggers a chain reaction of consequential or similar events or actions: *As information starts to become public, it causes people to come forward with even more… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • domino effect —  One action causing a series of impacts.  ► “The battle in California is expected to have a domino effect, eventually reaching all Americans.” (Black Enterprise, Nov. 1995, p. 133) …   American business jargon

  • domino effect — domino ef,fect noun singular a situation in which one event causes a whole series of events to happen one after the other …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • domino effect — the cumulative effect that results when one event precipitates a series of like events. Also called domino reaction. [1965 70] * * * …   Universalium

  • domino effect — noun the effect of the domino theory …   English new terms dictionary

  • domino effect — noun Date: 1966 a cumulative effect produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events compare ripple effect …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • domino effect — noun a) the effect of one event setting off a chain of similar events b) the theory that, if Vietnam fell to communism, it would be followed by Cambodia and Laos etc …   Wiktionary

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