"To domino” means “to give birth,” cited in Texas from the 1960s. The expression comes from the game of dominoes, where “to domino” is to end the game. It’s not known who popularized the term to apply to childbirth.
Dominoes (or “dominos") generally refers to the collective gaming pieces making up a domino set (sometimes called a deck or pack) or to the subcategory of tile games played with domino pieces. In the area of mathematical tilings and polyominoes, the word domino often refers to any rectangle formed from joining two congruent squares edge to edge. The traditional Sino-European domino set consists of 28 dominoes, colloquially nicknamed bones, cards, tiles, tickets, stones, or spinners. Each domino is a rectangular tile with a line dividing its face into two square ends. Each end is marked with a number of spots (also called pips) or is blank. The backs of the dominoes in a set are indistinguishable, either blank or having some common design. A domino set is a generic gaming device, similar to playing cards or dice, in that a variety of games can be played with a set.
Other uses of dominoes
Other than playing games of strategy, another common use of dominoes is standing them on edge in long lines then toppling the first tile, which falls on and topples the second, which topples the third, etc., resulting in all of the tiles falling. Arrangements of millions of tiles have been made that have taken many minutes to fall. By analogy, similar phenomena of chains of small events each causing similar events leading to eventual catastrophe are called domino effects.
Dictionary of American Regional English
domino v [See quot 1987] TX
To give birth.
1967 DARE (Qu. AA28...Joking or sly expressions...women use to say that another is going to have a baby..."She’s ___”) Inf TX5, Getting ready to domino.
1984 Weaver TX Crude 110, To domino. To give birth, to bear a child. “How’s the wife?” “Oh, she’s fixin’ to domino here about March or April.”
1987 NADS Letters ceTX, You will hear from Texans by the score about domino as an old euphemism for “giving birth.” To say “She’s about to domino,” or “she just dominoed” means that the long process (the long game) is about over or has ended, as in the game, “to domino” is to end it. I have lived here 57 years, and I can remember the expression as almost the norm rather than a sometime thing, in Houston especially.
13 November 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “More of the Tonkawa Indian Herb Remedies” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 25:
The Tonkawa herb doctor also had some advice for women soon to birth babies: “About two weeks or so before a woman is due to domino she should start eating boiled prairie turnips. This is an old Indian remedy for easing the pains of child birth and it really works.”
18 March 1972, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “More on Rocky’s herbs for Pregnant Women” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 19:
“It’ll be several weeks until prairie turnip season. I guess I should go into the business of canning them so women about to domino can eat them in all seasons,” said the herb doctor.
The Day the Music Died:
The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens
By Larry Lehmer
Published by Music Sales Group
As Woodrow said, Teetsie “was about ready to domino.” Her mother would be right across the road in case of an unusually quick labor.
When the Long Days Come, Mr. Dowell
By Ross Eddy Osborn
Published by Buy Books on the web
Crying now, the pregnant woman leaned against her husband as he hurried her past the blond stew toward the cockpit door.
“Damn,” James said, as the couple shuffled quickly past his and Charles’s seats, that woman set to domino right here on the jet?”
My favorite from Lufkin (my hometown): “If I tell you a hen dips snuff”...
Posted at 9:29PM, 1 January 2005 PST
This one may be specific to Ft. Worth, anybody heard “When’s she gonna domino?”, referring to a pregnant lady ready to give birth?
Add Toad Floater to above.
(I’ve always heard ‘domino’ used that way, too. I’m from Dallas)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Texas Forever--Day 4--Chaps 7, 8
We didn’t know what to do, but since Mama was going to “domino” at any time, we stayed put. On March 1 she told me to run to Tio Mano’s house and bring back his wife, Mercedes, who had helped with the other births.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, January 31, 2009 • Permalink