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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for donkey


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Bottom wandering through a forest with the head of a donkey. Adam Thirlwell, The New York Review of Books, "A Horse’s Remorse," 3 Aug. 2020 For example, people with a lot of wide open space might consider bringing a mini donkey into their family. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Everything You Need to Know About Having A Mini Donkey As A Pet," 11 Dec. 2019 In Ziway, an Ethiopian town, kilometre-long greenhouses sprawl like aircraft hangars beside the dust and donkey carts. The Economist, "Production lions How manufacturing might take off in Africa," 13 June 2020 One path is through mating, just as the horse and donkey mate to create a mule. Antonis Rokas, The Conversation, "A new hybrid fungus is found in hospitals and linked to lung disease," 4 June 2020 These three donkeys were taken to the sanctuary after their owner died. Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus crisis exacerbates struggles of animal sanctuaries in Spain," 20 Apr. 2020 In south Tunisia, two football fan brothers bump into a headphones-wearing donkey in the desert on the border of Algeria. Ben Flanagan |, al, "See every Oscar-nominated short film at Sidewalk Cinema this weekend," 31 Jan. 2020 The collection started in 1983 when an aunt died and left him a Cuban straw hat decorated with little palm trees and a man leading a donkey on a rope. Caitlin Anderson, Twin Cities, "Apple Valley’s ‘Hat Man’ wears crazy hats, makes people smile," 30 Dec. 2019 Between August and September, Howard County Animal Control officers removed more than 50 animals — including turtles, miniatures horses, a parrot and a donkey — from the puppy mill, police said. Jess Nocera,, "Police: Woodbine couple charged with more than 100 counts of animal cruelty, accused of running puppy mill," 8 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of donkey

circa 1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for donkey

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about donkey

Time Traveler for donkey

Time Traveler

The first known use of donkey was circa 1785

See more words from the same year

Statistics for donkey

Last Updated

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Donkey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for donkey


How to pronounce donkey (audio) How to pronounce donkey (audio) How to pronounce donkey (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!