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

Definition of donnybrook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a usually public quarrel or dispute


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

Definition of Donnybrook (Entry 2 of 2)

city in the province of Leinster, eastern Ireland

Note: Donnybrook is a southeastern suburb of Dublin.

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Synonyms for donnybrook

Synonyms: Noun

affray [chiefly British], brawl, broil, fracas, fray, free-for-all, melee (also mêlée), rough-and-tumble, row, ruckus, ruction

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Did You Know?

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: Noun

On Monday, when the panel conducted a hearing about the Mueller report, there was a partisan donnybrook. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "The House Judiciary Committee Considers Antitrust Law, the Tech Giants, and the Future of News," 14 June 2019 Confrontation of all kinds is a key comedic element of Letterkenny, and not just because Canadians like a good donnybrook and have the capacity, male and female, to beat your ass solid while looking like the friendliest folks around. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: 'Letterkenny' Is the Canadian Comedy You Didn't Know You Needed," 11 July 2018 That quickly revealed itself to be gun violence, and given the verbal blood sport the issue triggers, a debate could have devolved into a full-fledged donnybrook. Meredith Mendelsohn, New York Times, "Can an Artist Shift the Gun Debate?," 22 June 2018 Its warring progressive and pro-Cranley coalitions have drawn a line in the sand over this mayor-city manager donnybrook. ... Jason Williams,, "PX column: Cincinnati City Hall's 1st quarter progress report. Warning: It's not pretty," 16 Mar. 2018 New releases ★★½ Avengers: Infinity War The final installment — Part 1! — in the multi-film Marvel series is an all-star donnybrook that will play well to fans while leaving the unconverted cold., "Movie capsules," 26 Apr. 2018 But for those either inside the historic Birmingham venue or watching on Facebook, the Democratic donnybrook came as somewhat of a shock. John Sharp,, "How the Alabama Democratic governor's debate produced 'more fireworks' than usual," 25 Apr. 2018 The donnybrook was on, sweeping the two from the middle of the bus to the front. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "At 'your mama,' the bus driver turned into a church parking lot and the fight started | Miami Herald," 23 Apr. 2018 That led to Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly drilling Austin in the seventh inning, which ended with a full-scale donnybrook. Gabriel Baumgaertner,, "A Brief History of Yankees-Red Sox Brawls," 12 Apr. 2018

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.

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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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Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for donnybrook

The first known use of donnybrook was in 1852

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English Language Learners Definition of donnybrook

: a public argument
: an uncontrolled fight

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