[don-ee-broo k]

noun (often initial capital letter)

an inordinately wild fight or contentious dispute; brawl; free-for-all.

Origin of donnybrook

First recorded in 1850–55; after Donnybrook (Fair).
Also called Donnybrook Fair. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for donnybrook

Historical Examples of donnybrook

  • 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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for donnybrook



a rowdy brawl

Word Origin for donnybrook

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

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