Skip to main content
Select Source:

donkey

donkey the donkey was used as a beast of burden, and traditionally taken as a type of stupidity. In the story of Balaam, the diviner's falsity is emphasized by the fact that he is unable to see the divine messenger that is visible even to his donkey. (See also in this context ass in a lion's skin, Buridan's ass.)

A donkey, representing the deliberate eschewing of a horse that might have symbolized martial and worldly power, was the animal on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

The word was originally pronounced to rhyme with monkey, and may come from dun ‘dull greyish-brown’, or from the given name Duncan.
donkeys' years an informal expression for a very long time, recorded from the early 20th century, and with punning allusion to the length of a donkey's ears.

See also lions led by donkeys.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"donkey." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"donkey." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey

"donkey." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved July 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey

donkey

don·key / ˈdôngkē; ˈdäng-/ • n. (pl. -eys) 1. a domesticated hoofed mammal (Equus asinus) of the horse family with long ears and a braying call, used as a beast of burden; an ass. 2. inf. a stupid or foolish person. PHRASES: donkey's years inf. a very long time.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"donkey." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"donkey." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey-1

"donkey." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey-1

donkey

donkey XVIII. In early use pronounced so as to rhyme with monkey, whence the proposed derivs. from DUN 1 and from the proper name Duncan (cf. dicky, neddy).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"donkey." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"donkey." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey-2

"donkey." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved July 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey-2

donkey

donkey Domesticated ass, used by humans since well before 3000 bc. Crossed with a horse it produces a mule.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"donkey." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"donkey." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/donkey

"donkey." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/donkey

donkey

donkey: see ass.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"donkey." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"donkey." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/donkey

"donkey." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/donkey

donkey

donkeybrickie, Dickie, hickey, icky, mickey, Nicky, picky, quickie, rickey, Rikki, sickie, sticky, tricky, Vicky •milky, silky, Wilkie •Chinky, dinky, Helsinki, inky, Kinki, kinky, minke, pinkie, pinky, slinky, stinky, stotinki •frisky, risky, whisky •Dzerzhinsky, Kandinsky, kolinsky, Nijinsky, Stravinsky •doohickey • smart-alecky • garlicky •colicky • gimmicky • panicky • finicky •plasticky •crikey, Nike, psyche, spiky •choccy, cocky, flocky, gnocchi, hockey, jockey, oche, pocky, rocky, schlocky, stocky •conchae, donkey, honky, shonky, wonky •Brodsky •Malinowski, Minkowski, Stokowski, Tchaikovsky •Chomsky • Trotsky • droshky •jabberwocky •balky, chalky, corky, gawky, Gorky, Milwaukee, pawky, porky, talkie, walkie-talkie •Sikorsky • Mussorgsky

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"donkey." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"donkey." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey-0

"donkey." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/donkey-0