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### Meaning of '-ominoe'

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Date: 11/07/2001 at 11:27:52
From: J. Bunker
Subject: Geometry

We are drawing pictures of dominoes, triominoes, tetrominoes, and
pentominoes.  What is the meaning of the root "ominoe"?
```

```
Date: 11/07/2001 at 11:49:49
From: Doctor Sarah
Subject: Re: Geometry

Hi J - thanks for writing to Dr. Math.

Good question! -omino isn't really a root, and with the exception of
"domino," the rest are "made-up" words.  Let's look at what Steven
Schwartzman says about the word "polyomino" in _The Words of
Mathematics - An Etymological Dictionary of Mathematical Terms Used in
English (Mathematical Association of America):

The term polyomino was coined by Solomon W. Golomb in 1954.

The first component is fromGreek polus "many," from the
Indo-European root pel - "to fill," which is an English
cognate. The second component is all but the first letter
of Latin domino, from Latin dominus "master (of the house)."
The more basic Latin word is domus "house," from the
Indo-European root dem - "home."

In the 16th century, a domino was a priest's winter cloak
with hood; the name came from the expression benedicamus
domino "Let us bless the Lord," which monks used to repeat
as a brief prayer. Only in the 19th century did the term
apply to the rectangular pieces used in the game of dominoes.

One hypothesis to explain the connection between the two
dissimilar objects is that the dominoes used in the game are
of the same black color as the dominoes worn by monks.

The do- in domino coincidentally but conveniently resembles
the do- that means "two," as in double and dodecagon. Whereas
a standard domino is made up of two square sections with
numbers on each, a polyomino is made up of several square
sections without any numbers on them. A player is challenged
to combine the pieces in a set of polyominoes to produce
certain shapes or simple pictures of recognizable objects.
There are 5 distinct tetrominoes, 12 pentominoes,
35 hexominoes, 108 heptominoes, 369 octominoes, etc.
Pentominoes have been more popular than any of the other
-ominoes.

- Doctor Sarah, The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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```
Date: 11/09/2001 at 10:17:42
From: jbunker@norman.k12.ok.us
Subject: Geometry

Dear Dr. Sarah,

Thank you for your great answer.  I will enjoy sharing it with my
class.

Ms. J. Bunker
Norman, OK
```
Associated Topics:
High School Definitions
High School Discrete Mathematics
High School Euclidean/Plane Geometry
High School Geometry

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