donkey work

See synonyms for donkey work on
  1. Informal. tedious, repetitious work; drudgery.

Origin of donkey work

First recorded in 1915–20
  • Also don·key·work [dong-kee-wurk, dawng‐, duhng‐]. /ˈdɒŋ kiˌwɜrk, ˈdɔŋ‐, ˈdʌŋ‐/. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use donkey work in a sentence

  • All this fiddling donkey-work with which women occupied themselves at home—he dismissed it.

    Married Life | May Edginton
  • In fact, the pioneering and donkey work has all been done, and the country only waits for us to step into our new inheritance.

    Sketches of the East Africa Campaign | Robert Valentine Dolbey

British Dictionary definitions for donkey-work


  1. groundwork

  2. drudgery: US equivalent: draft-mule work

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