don·​key | \ ˈdäŋ-kē How to pronounce donkey (audio) , ˈdəŋ- How to pronounce donkey (audio) , ˈdȯŋ- How to pronounce donkey (audio) \
plural donkeys

Definition of donkey

1 : the domestic ass (Equus asinus)
2 : a stupid or obstinate person

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Synonyms for donkey


ass, burro, jackass, moke [British slang]

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Examples of donkey in a Sentence

we put our bags on the donkey and headed down the canyon called him a donkey when he refused to go along with their plans

Recent Examples on the Web

To express their rejection, Palestinians in Gaza called a general strike on Tuesday to protest the meeting, with demonstrators in the West Bank burning effigies of Trump and featuring a donkey pasted over with images of Gulf royals. Washington Post, "Kushner tries to sell Mideast plan to skeptical audience," 26 June 2019 The owner of the animals said miniatures originated in the Mediterranean area and donkeys live to be about 6 years old, while the horses can live up until about 40. Linda Gandee/special To,, "19th century life showcased in Avon Lake’s Hike Into History," 16 June 2019 Complete an overnight hiking trek in the High Atlas Mountains and interview indigenous nomadic and semi-nomadic people with their herds of sheep, goats, and donkeys. National Geographic, "Morocco High School Community Service," 12 June 2019 In the real world, this issue is one of the reasons humans ride horses and donkeys but not, say, cattle. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "'Game of Thrones' Science: Could a Person Ride a Dragon?," 15 Apr. 2019 Above is a new photo of Crown Princess Victoria and her husband, Prince Daniel, along with their two children Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, all looking quite folksy there with a donkey. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Swedish Royal Family Just Released Three Perfectly Color-Coordinated Portraits," 20 Aug. 2018 While the donkeys adjust to their new home, zoo-goers will be able to see, but not touch, them. Anne Dunlap,, "Hee-haw: Sanford zoo braying about toddler donkeys," 24 May 2018 This is your dream destination: This 1 bedroom suite is situated above the owner's barn home to her Icelandic horses and miniature donkeys. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Where to Stay in New York's Hudson Valley," 5 Apr. 2019 On Saturdays, visitors make the trek by donkey carriage to the weekly souk, or market. Lane Nieset, Vogue, "After Marrakech, Go to Oualidia, the Montauk of Morocco," 30 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'donkey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of donkey

circa 1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for donkey

origin unknown

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Statistics for donkey

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for donkey

The first known use of donkey was circa 1785

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More Definitions for donkey



English Language Learners Definition of donkey

: an animal that is like a small horse with large ears


don·​key | \ ˈdäŋ-kē How to pronounce donkey (audio) , ˈdəŋ-, ˈdȯŋ-\
plural donkeys

Kids Definition of donkey

: an animal related to but smaller than the horse that has short hair in mane and tail and very large ears

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More from Merriam-Webster on donkey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with donkey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for donkey

Spanish Central: Translation of donkey

Nglish: Translation of donkey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of donkey for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about donkey

Comments on donkey

What made you want to look up donkey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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