Dictionary.com

jenny

1
[ jen-ee ]
/ ˈdʒɛn i /
Save This Word!

noun, plural jen·nies.
the female of certain animals, especially a female donkey or a female bird: a jenny wren.
QUIZ
SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of jenny

1
First recorded in 1590–1600; generic use of Jenny, proper name

Other definitions for jenny (2 of 2)

jenny2

or jen·nie

[ jen-ee ]
/ ˈdʒɛn i /

noun, plural jen·nies.Nautical Slang.

Origin of jenny

2
Shortening and alteration of Genoa
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

MORE ABOUT JENNY

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.

Did you know ... ?

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

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
FEEDBACK