[ jen-ee ]
/ ˈdʒɛn i /
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noun, plural jen·nies.
the female of certain animals, especially a female donkey or a female bird: a jenny wren.
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Origin of jenny

First recorded in 1590–1600; generic use of Jenny, proper name

Other definitions for jenny (2 of 2)


or jen·nie

[ jen-ee ]
/ ˈdʒɛn i /

noun, plural jen·nies.Nautical Slang.

Origin of jenny

Shortening and alteration of Genoa
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does jenny mean?

The word jenny is used to refer to certain female animals, especially a female donkey or female bird.

When capitalized, Jenny is a proper name. Its sense referring to female donkeys is typically used in technical discussions of breeding. Unrelatedly, jenny can also refer to the spinning jenny, a machine for spinning yarn.

Example: I raise donkeys, and our jenny just had a foal.

Where does jenny come from?

Jenny is probably best known as a name. Many people are named Jenny, but it can also be a nickname. Today, it’s often used as a nickname for Jennifer (like Jenny from the Block), but traditionally it has also been used as a nickname for Janet and Jane. Jenny as a proper name for girls is typically cited as the basis of its use to refer to a female animal. The first records of this sense come from the 1600s.

You’ve heard of a jackass—the term literally refers to a male donkey and comes from the name Jack. The female equivalent is a jenny-ass. Jenny is most commonly associated with female donkeys, but jenny has historically been used as a term for other female animals, particularly birds, especially wrens.

Jenny was once used as a short way of saying spinning jenny, a spinning machine that allowed multiple threads to be spun at once, rather than just one. It’s unclear why jenny was used in its name.

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What are some synonyms for jenny?

What are some words that often get used in discussing jenny?


How is jenny used in real life?

The word jenny referring to a female animal is most commonly applied to donkeys, typically by people who work with donkeys.



Try using jenny!

Is jenny used correctly in the following sentence?

The offspring of a jenny and a male horse is called a hinny.

How to use jenny in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for jenny

/ (ˈdʒɛnɪ) /

noun plural -nies
a hand-operated machine for turning up the edge of a piece of sheet metal in preparation for making a joint
the female of certain animals or birds, esp a donkey, ass, or wren
short for spinning jenny
billiards snooker an in-offSee long jenny, short jenny

Word Origin for jenny

C17: from the name Jenny, diminutive of Jane
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