9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dong-kee, dawng-, duhng-] /ˈdɒŋ ki, ˈdɔŋ-, ˈdʌŋ-/
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.
Origin of donkey
1775-85; perhaps alteration of Dunkey, hypocoristic form of Duncan, man's name Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for donkey
  • The mule combines the best features of the donkey with the best features of the horse.
  • He entered the city on the back of a donkey and was greeted with acclaim by small crowds, as the story goes.
  • Especially, perhaps, when it contends with a more rational donkey.
  • Some people take donkey rides to get to the top as it is so exhausting to climb.
  • Animals sense it also: when a donkey brays, it is said to be seeing a jinn.
  • We marched into the mansion's courtyard, paid off the donkey driver, and collapsed beside our scanty possessions.
  • Some hospitals are said to be using donkey carts in place of ambulances.
  • Imagine that one's donkey would die, they'd lose their money.
  • Patients have traveled by bus, by donkey cart, and on foot.
  • In the back of the truck, there was a huge bucket of donkey meat.
British Dictionary definitions for donkey


Also called ass. a long-eared domesticated member of the horse family (Equidae), descended from the African wild ass (Equus asinus)
a stupid or stubborn person
(Brit, slang, derogatory) a footballer known for his or her lack of skill: the players are a bunch of overpriced and overrated donkeys
talk the hind leg(s) off a donkey, to talk endlessly
Word Origin
C18: perhaps from dun dark + -key, as in monkey
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
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Word Origin and History for donkey

1785, originally slang, perhaps a diminutive from dun "dull gray-brown," the form perhaps influenced by monkey. Or possibly from a familiar form of Duncan (cf. dobbin). The older English word was ass (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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donkey in Culture

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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