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.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for donnybrook

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Noun 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 The donnybrook over Denka is hardly the first time the DEQ has found itself at odds with the EPA while defending a big Louisiana industry. Gordon Russell, ProPublica, "In “Cancer Alley,” Toxic Polluters Face Little Oversight From Environmental Regulators," 19 Dec. 2019 In the fourth quarter, Owens catches another TD pass and tried to repeat his early stand, but Dallas safety and former Bama star George Teague knocks him off, setting off a donnybrook. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Alabama 200: State’s sports history littered with amazing, memorable moments," 27 Nov. 2019 But the defensive aggressiveness did lead to a donnybrook where Lopez was ejected — an incident that will carry a suspension for Pomona’s next game. Jake Shapiro, The Denver Post, "Pomona runs past Legend to advance in 5A state playoffs," 15 Nov. 2019 Absolutely nobody imagined that scenario in the aftermath of their May 2017 donnybrook that got both suspended. John Shea,, "Why A.J. Hinch is no Bruce Bochy and Giants are ‘Team of Decade’," 31 Oct. 2019 Then, tight end Demetrius Harris and defensive end Ben Banogu got together for a donnybrook. Dan Labbe,, "Cleveland Browns joint practice report: Things get heated as fights break out," 15 Aug. 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about donnybrook

Time Traveler for donnybrook

Time Traveler

The first known use of donnybrook was in 1852

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about donnybrook

Statistics for donnybrook

Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Donnybrook.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for donnybrook


How to pronounce Donnybrook (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of donnybrook

: a public argument
: an uncontrolled fight

More from Merriam-Webster on donnybrook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for donnybrook

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with donnybrook

Comments on donnybrook

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


experienced by way of someone else

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!