domino theory

noun
a theory that if one country is taken over by an expansionist, especially Communist, neighbor, party, or the like, the nearby nations will be taken over one after another.

Origin:
1960–65

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

domino theory
1954, see domino.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

domino theory definition


The idea that if one key nation in a region fell to control of communists, others would follow like toppling dominoes. The theory was used by many American leaders to justify American intervention in the Vietnam War. (See policy of containment.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
But it would also be a mistake to swallow the counter-domino theory.
Comment on the domino theory- a metaphor with almost no support in contemporary history.
There's this sort of silly notion that there's a kind of domino theory and it goes from one country to the next country.
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