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Domino Glossary

Here is a comprehensive glossary of the many terms, phrases, expressions and slang commonly used when playing dominoes.

If you're new to playing dominoes then you may hear many unfamiliar terms, phrases, expressions, lingo, and slang when you first start playing with more experienced players.  If you want to learn what all these strange new words mean, then check out the table listed below.  Here is a comprehensive glossary of domino terms listed alphabetically for you to refer to if you're unsure of what a particular domino-related word means, or if you want to either learn from scratch or just refresh your knowledge of the language of domino games.

Term
Definition
#

1 Also known as an ace.
2 Also known as a deuce.
3 Also known as a trey.
A

Ace The end of a domino marked with one spot.
Arm A single straight line of dominoes forming a section of the layout of a domino game.
B

Back
 

 

The reverse side of the numbered spotted face of a domino tile. The backs may be plain or may bear an identical design, logo, or other pattern marked on them, so they cannot be distinguished from each other.
Bar
The centrally marked line separating the two ends of a domino tile. Also known as the "divider" or "centre".
Blank One end of a domino tile that bears no spots. Also known as a "white", "zero", or "pale".
Block
 

 

A situation in a domino game when no player is able to make a move, either to place a tile on the layout or to draw one from the boneyard.  Typically ends a game. Also known as a "jam".
Block Games Domino games in which tiles are played onto a sequential layout but where players score points at the end of a round and not as a game is in progress like Point games. The idea of these games is for players to "block" other players so they can't play a tile onto the layout.
Board The domino tiles that have been played and set out on the playing area.  Also known as the "layout", "table", "tableau", or "line-of-play".
Board Count The total number of pips on the open, playable ends of the layout.  Useful in point games.
Bone An individual domino piece.  Known as "bones" because they were originally made from animal bone or ivory. Also known as "stones", "tiles", "men", or a "domino".
Boneyard The collection of domino tiles (or bones) turned face-down and shuffled for the players to draw from. Also known as the "reserve".
C
 
Card Games Domino games in which players use domino tiles more like playing-cards rather than playing them onto a sequential layout like Block, Draw, and Point games.
Centre The centrally marked line separating the two ends of a domino tile. Also known as the "divider" or "bar".
Cribbage Board A scoring device used for domino games, consisting of a block drilled with a series of holes and used with small pegs that are moved sequentially around the holes to indicate players' score/progress in a game.
D
 
Deuce One end of a domino tile marked with two spots.
Divider The centrally marked line separating the two ends of a domino tile. Also known as the "bar" or "centre".
Domino An individual domino piece.  Also known as "stones", "bones", "men", or a "tile".
To "domino" or "go domino" is also the act of a player playing their last tile which will typically end a round or game.
Dominoes The term "dominoes" can be used to refer to both a game of dominoes and the actual domino tiles.
Double A domino tile with the same spotted suit marked on both ends. For example, two sixes is a "double-six", and two blanks is a "double-blank". Also known as a "doublet".
Double-6s A domino set made up of 28 tiles bearing all the two numbered combinations of 0 (blank) up to 6 on either end.
Double-9s A domino set made up of 55 tiles bearing all the two numbered combinations of 0 (blank) up to 9 on either end.
Double-12s A domino set made up of 91 tiles bearing all the two numbered combinations of 0 (blank) up to 12 on either end.
Double-15s A domino set made up of 136 tiles bearing all the two numbered combinations of 0 (blank) up to 15 on either end.
Double-18s A domino set made up of 190 tiles bearing all the two numbered combinations of 0 (blank) up to 18 on either end.
Doublet
A domino tile with the same spotted/numbered suit marked on both ends. For example, two sixes is a "doublet six" or "six doublet"  Also known as a "double".
Dot One of the circular marks on a domino tile used to denominate the suit of one end. Also known as a "pip" or a "spot".
Down

Playing the first initial tile to start the layout of a round or game of dominoes. Also known as "posing", to "pose", "setting", or a "set",

Draw Taking a domino from the boneyard and into your hand.
Draw Games Domino games in which players play tiles onto a sequential layout of tiles but score points at the end of a round not as the game as in progress like Point games. Daw games may be distinguished from Block games by the difference that players draw tiles from any in the boneyard during play.
E
 
End One of the two sides of a domino tile, divided by the central dividing line, that is marked with a suit.
 
F
 
G
 
H
 
Hand The set of domino tiles belonging to each individual player.  They are not usually held in players' actual hands, but set in front of them so only they can see the suit values.

Also refers to an individual round in a game consisting of a number of rounds.

Hub A device often used for the layout of the domino games Mexican Train and Chickenfoot that holds an initially set double tile with a number of spaces around it for playing subsequent tiles that radiate out.
I
 
J

Jam A situation in a domino game when no players are able to make a move, either to place a tile on the layout or to draw one from the boneyard.  Typically ends a game. Also known as a "block".
K
 
   
L
 
   
Layout The domino tiles that have been played and set out on the playing area.  Also known as the "table", "tableau", "line-of-play" or "board".
Line-of-play The domino tiles that have been played and sequentially set out on the playing area.  Also known as the "layout", "table", "tableau"  or "board".
M
 
Men The individual domino pieces.  Also known as ""tiles", stones", "bones", or a "domino".
   
N
 
O
 
Open End The end of a domino layout not connected to any other tile. Subsequently played tiles may only be placed on this end.
P
 
Pegs Small markers used with a cribbage board that are moved sequentially around the board's series of holes to indicate players' scores/progress in a game. Also known as "spilikins".
Pips The circular dots marked on a domino tile denominating the suit of either end.  Also known as "spots" or "dots".
Pivot Another name for the metal pin or "spinner" that protrudes through the middle of the central dividing bar that may be found on some domino sets.
Point Games Domino games played with a sequential layout of tiles and where players score points as the game is in progress and not just at the end of a round as in Block and Draw domino games.
Pose Playing the first domino to start the layout in a round of dominoes. Also known as "posing", "setting", or to "set".
Q
 
   
R
 
Reserve The collection of domino tiles turned face-down and shuffled for the players to draw from. Also known as the "boneyard".
S
 
Set Placing a domino tile onto the playing area. 
Can also refer to the first domino placed onto the playing area to start a layout - "to set". Also known as "posing", "a pose".
In bidding games, when a player is unable to make their bid they are said to have been "set".
Shuffle The act of turning domino tiles face down and then moving them around at random so no player knows which tile is which.
"Smacking the bone down" Slang used for the first initial set of a tile to start the layout in a round or game of dominoes. Derived from the tradition of Caribbean and South American domino players who will physically "smack" a tile down onto the playing area.
Solitaire Game A game played by a single individual player who must complete it by themselves.
Spilikins Small markers used with a cribbage board that are moved sequentially around the boards series of holes to indicate players' scores/progress in a game. Also known as "pegs".
Spinner The first double played in a game is often called the "spinner". Many  games allow  domino tiles to be played off all four edges of the spinner - ends and sides.

Sometimes all doubles played onto the layout, in a game that allows play to branch four ways from any double, are called "spinners"

A spinner is also a metal pin found in some dominoes protruding through the middle of the central dividing bar.  Also known as a "pivot"

Spots
The circular dots marked on a domino tile denominating the suit of one end.  Also known as "pips" or "dots".
Stones An individual domino piece.  Also known as "tiles", "bones", "men", or a "domino".
Streets Rows of sets of 30 holes drilled into a cribbage board scoring device commonly used for keeping score in some domino games.
Suit The spotted denomination of a tile or the collection of tiles all bearing the same spotted value on at least one end.
T
 
Table The domino tiles that have been played and set out on the playing area.  Also known as the "layout", "tableau", "line-of-play" or "board".
Tableau The domino tiles that have been played and set out on the playing area.  Also known as the "layout", "table", "line-of-play" or "board".
Tile An individual domino piece.  Also known as "stones", "bones", "men", or a "domino".
Trey One end of a domino tile marked with three spots.
U
 
 
V
 
W
 
White One end of a domino tile that bears no spots. Also known as a "blank", "zero", or "pale".
Woodpile An arrangement of Chinese domino tiles arranged in stacks which can vary in height and length according to the particular Chinese domino game played. Players draw or are dealt tiles from the "woodpile".
X
 
Y
 
Z

Zero One end of a domino tile that bears no spots. Also known as a "blank", "white" or "pale"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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