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[don-ee-broo k] /ˈdɒn iˌbrʊk/
noun, (often initial capital letter)
an inordinately wild fight or contentious dispute; brawl; free-for-all.
Also called Donnybrook Fair.
Origin of donnybrook
First recorded in 1850-55; after Donnybrook (Fair). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for donnybrook
Historical Examples
  • We say nothing of the difference between May Fair and donnybrook.

    The Young Duke Benjamin Disraeli
  • And get it settled who's in command of this donnybrook, while we're at it, Conn thought.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • We went out to donnybrook and I brought her into a field there.

    Dubliners James Joyce
  • Their chief delight is to get into a regular donnybrook fight.

  • Where has the pugilistic hilarity of the Irish scope as at donnybrook Fair?

    The Collector Henry T. Tuckerman
  • donnybrook is the most respectable and aristocratic of all the suburbs of Dublin.

    One Irish Summer William Eleroy Curtis
  • donnybrook, formerly a village, Ireland, now a suburb of Dublin.

  • Well, this is going to beat any donnybrook Fair you lads ever saw.

    Love Under Fire Randall Parrish
  • Flourishing their donnybrook shillelahs, they looked like an irruption of barbarians.

    Redburn. His First Voyage Herman Melville
  • After that we took a house at donnybrook, the well-known suburb of Dublin.

    An Autobiography

    Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for donnybrook


a rowdy brawl
Word Origin
C19: after Donnybrook Fair, an annual event until 1855 near Dublin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for donnybrook

1852, from Donnybrook Fair, proverbial for carousing and brawling, held in County Dublin until 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for donnybrook



A riotous scene, esp a general and energetic brawl; brannigan: A donnybrook began when police arrested the operators

[1852+; fr the reputation of a fair held annually at the Dublin suburb of Donnybrook]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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