noun, often capitalized
don·​ny·​brook | \ ˈdä-nē-ˌbru̇k How to pronounce donnybrook (audio) \

Definition of donnybrook

2 : a usually public quarrel or dispute

Synonyms for donnybrook


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The Donnybrook Fair was an annual event held in Donnybrook-then a suburb of Dublin, Ireland-from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The fair was legendary for the vast quantities of liquor consumed there, for the number of hasty marriages performed during the week following it, and, most of all, for the frequent brawls that erupted throughout it. Eventually, the fair's reputation for tumult was its undoing. From the 1790s on there were campaigns against the drunken brawl the fair had become. The event was abolished in 1855, but not before its name had become a generic term for a free-for-all.

Examples of donnybrook in a Sentence

A donnybrook has erupted over the court's decision. a dozen people were arrested after the donnybrook at the stadium
Recent Examples on the Web The unequal three-way donnybrook — film critics on one side, the vox populi and aggrieved artists on the other — is a digital-era twist on a perennial Hollywood story. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan. 2022 Second, there is that political donnybrook sense of a right ugly fight while people hammer each other in hopes of furthering their own agendas. Erik Sherman, Forbes, 25 Dec. 2021 City officials said the donnybrook between FirstEnergy and Cleveland Public Power has spanned several years, both inside and outside courtrooms, fights that are likely to continue. John Caniglia, cleveland, 13 Jan. 2021 Wilson then followed up his battering of Buchnevich by body-slamming Artemiy Panarin to the ice during the ensuing donnybrook. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, 4 May 2021 What followed is a legal donnybrook that has the region’s top law firms fighting to keep documents about the hospital under seal. John Caniglia, cleveland, 17 Apr. 2021 But in the partisan donnybrook surrounding the bill’s passage, little attention was paid to the fact that the benefits cut off at the margin rather than sloping down. The Economist, 27 Feb. 2021 On top of this, the legislatures appointing electors would trigger a historic donnybrook in Congress, which considers objections to electoral ballots under the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Rich Lowry, National Review, 13 Nov. 2020 The other Senate race in Georgia is a donnybrook featuring eight Democrats, six Republicans, five independents, and one from the Libertarian and Green Party. al, 27 Oct. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of donnybrook

1852, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for donnybrook

Donnybrook Fair, annual Irish event known for its brawls

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The first known use of donnybrook was in 1852

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Cite this Entry

“Donnybrook.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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Donnybrook geographical name

Don·​ny·​brook | \ ˈdä-nē-ˌbru̇k How to pronounce Donnybrook (audio) \

Definition of Donnybrook

city in the province of Leinster, eastern Ireland

Note: Donnybrook is a southeastern suburb of Dublin.


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