Generally speaking, dominoes are rectangular pieces of wood, bone, or plastic that are used for various games. They are divided into two squares, known as ends, and are marked with an arrangement of spots. The most common variant has six pips.

Dominoes are usually twice as long as they are wide. They have a line in the middle and are usually made from ivory or dark hardwood. These can be placed in rows of three, four, or more. They are also made in different shapes. Some are blank while others are made with Arabic numerals instead of pips.

In the Western world, dominoes were introduced in the late 1700s. They are most commonly used in positional games. In order to win the game, the player must have the fewest pips. During the 1860s, new variants of the game began to appear, but the most popular variation remains the same. In this variation, each player draws seven tiles from a pool of stock. The player then plays each tile, and each trick counts as one point. The resulting score is the total number of points in the hand.

The earliest recorded version of the game was in Italy in the mid-18th century. In France, the game appeared shortly after 1750. It was eventually brought to England by French prisoners of war. There are various other versions of the game, but the most basic version requires only two players. These are called block-and-draw games.

The pips on the dominoes represent the suit of the number that is arranged on the tile. For example, if the number is “three,” the tile may be a member of the suits of ten, nine, eight, or seven. When the chain of dominoes is complete, the winner is the one who has the lowest total number of pips.

The word domino is a portmanteau of domino and mask. The original meaning of the word was a long-hooded cloak or masquerade mask. Later, the name came to mean a crude wooden cutout on a sheet of paper. In fact, these wooden cutouts were very popular among French peasants, and the word domino was first recorded in the Dictionnaire de Trevoux in 1771.

Traditionally, European style dominoes are made of dark hardwood such as ebony. Occasionally, they are made of silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell. In the United States, the term boneyard is often used to refer to the pieces left over after a game.

Some larger domino sets use Arabic numerals instead of pips. In addition, the Chinese domino set has no blank faces. However, in the most common variant, the pips on the dominoes are the most important thing. The sum of the pips is the weight.

The name domino is also associated with a variety of other names, including men, cards, tickets, and even bones. Other terms include the number 21. The number “21” refers to the number of results that can be gotten by throwing two six-sided dice.