Dictionary.com

donkey

[ dong-kee, dawng-, duhng- ]
/ ˈdɒŋ ki, ˈdɔŋ-, ˈdʌŋ- /
Save This Word!

noun, plural don·keys.
the domestic ass, Equus asinus.
(since 1874) a representation of this animal as the emblem of the U.S. Democratic Party.
a stupid, silly, or obstinate person.
a woodworking apparatus consisting of a clamping frame and saw, used for cutting marquetry veneers.
adjective
Machinery. auxiliary: donkey engine; donkey pump; donkey boiler.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of donkey

First recorded in 1775–85; of uncertain origin; perhaps alteration of Dunkey, diminutive name or pet form of Duncan, man's name; perhaps a derivative of dun “dull, grayish brown”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use donkey in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for donkey

donkey
/ (ˈdɒŋkɪ) /

noun
Also called: ass a long-eared domesticated member of the horse family (Equidae), descended from the African wild ass (Equus asinus)
a stupid or stubborn person
British slang, derogatory a footballer known for his or her lack of skillthe players are a bunch of overpriced and overrated donkeys
talk the hind leg(s) off a donkey to talk endlessly

Word Origin for donkey

C18: perhaps from dun dark + -key, as in monkey
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

Cultural definitions for donkey

donkey

A symbol (see also symbol) of the Democratic party, introduced in a series of political cartoons by Thomas Nast during the congressional elections of 1874. (Compare elephant.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
FEEDBACK