[dong-kee, dawng-, duhng-]
noun, plural donkeys.
the domestic ass, Equus asinus.
(since 1874) a representation of this animal as the emblem of the U.S. Democratic Party.
a stupid, silly, or obstinate person.
a woodworking apparatus consisting of a clamping frame and saw, used for cutting marquetry veneers.
Machinery. auxiliary: donkey engine; donkey pump; donkey boiler.

1775–85; perhaps alteration of Dunkey, hypocoristic form of Duncan, man's name Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
donkey (ˈdɒŋkɪ)
1.  Also called: ass a long-eared domesticated member of the horse family (Equidae), descended from the African wild ass (Equus asinus)
2.  a stupid or stubborn person
3.  slang, derogatory (Brit) a footballer known for his or her lack of skill: the players are a bunch of overpriced and overrated donkeys
4.  talk the hind leg(s) off a donkey to talk endlessly
[C18: perhaps from dun dark + -key, as in monkey]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1785, slang, perhaps from dun "dull grey-brown," the form perhaps infl. by monkey. Or possibly from a familiar form of Duncan (cf. dobbin). The older Eng. word was ass.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

donkey definition

A symbol of the Democratic party, introduced in a series of political cartoons by Thomas Nast during the congressional elections of 1874. (Compare elephant.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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