donkey


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Related to donkey: zebra

in donkeys

In an exceptionally long period of time. The phrase likely originated as the rhyming slang, shortened to simply "donkeys," of "donkey's ears" —where "ears" rhymes with "years" and alludes to the length of a donkey's ears. I haven't seen Jim in donkeys! How's he doing these days?
See also: donkey

donkey's ears

An exceptionally long period of time. The phrase likely originated as rhyming slang, where "ears" rhymes with "years" and alludes to the length of a donkey's ears. Throughout time, it became more popularized as "donkey's years." I haven't seen Jim in donkey's ears! How's he doing these days? It's been donkey's ears since we last got together like this.
See also: ear

the straw that breaks the donkey's back

A seemingly small or inconsequential issue, problem, or burden that proves to be the final catalyst in causing an overworked or overburdened person, system, organization, etc., to fail, give up, or collapse. (A less common variant of "the straw that breaks the camel's back.") I'm already fed up with your lazy, selfish behavior, Jim, but if you can't be bothered to come with me to my own mother's funeral, that will be the straw that breaks the donkey's back! With governmental resources already strained to the breaking point, any sort of environmental disaster would be the straw that breaks the donkey's back.
See also: back, break, straw

the straw that broke the donkey's back

A seemingly small or inconsequential issue, problem, or burden that proves to be the final catalyst in causing an overworked or overburdened person, system, organization, etc., to fail, give up, or collapse. (A less common variant of "the straw that broke the camel's back.") I was already fed up with my husband's lazy, selfish ways, but it was his refusal to get off the couch and come with me to my mother's funeral that was the straw that broke the donkey's back! With governmental resources already strained to the breaking point, any sort of environmental disaster would likely be the straw that broke the donkey's back.
See also: back, broke, straw

suck donkey balls

vulgar slang To be remarkably bad, unpleasant, disappointing, or upsetting. Well, that movie sucked donkey balls. I wish I could get my money back! Yeah, I heard that class sucks donkey balls, so I'm taking an Intro to Chemistry course instead.
See also: ball, donkey, suck

donkey's years

  (informal)
a very long time I've been doing this job for donkey's years.
See donkey work
See also: year

can talk the hind leg(s) off a donkey

  (British humorous)
if you say that someone can talk the hind leg off a donkey, you mean that they talk a lot His father could talk the hind leg off a donkey.
See also: can, donkey, hind, leg, off, talk

donkey work

  (British, American & Australian informal) also grunt work (American informal)
hard, boring work
Usage notes: In the past, donkeys were used to carry heavy loads.
Why do I have to do all the donkey work while you get to do the interesting stuff?
See also: donkey, work

donkey's years

A long time, as in I haven't seen her in donkey's years. This expression punningly alludes to the considerable length of the animal's ears. [Early 1900s]
See also: year

talk someone's arm off

Also, talk someone's ear or head or pants off ; talk a blue streak; talk until one is blue in the face; talk the bark off a tree or the hind leg off a donkey or horse . Talk so much as to exhaust the listener, as in Whenever I run into her she talks my arm off, or Louise was so excited that she talked a blue streak, or You can talk the bark off a tree but you still won't convince me. The first four expressions imply that one is so bored by a person's loquacity that one's arm (or ear or head or pants) fall off; they date from the first half of the 1900s (also see pants off). The term like a blue streak alone simply means "very quickly," but in this idiom, first recorded in 1914, it means "continuously." The obvious hyperboles implying talk that takes the bark off a tree, first recorded in 1831, or the hind leg off a horse, from 1808, are heard less often today. Also see under blue in the face.
See also: arm, off, talk

donkey’s breakfast

n. something made of straw: a straw hat, a straw mattress, etc. The tourist was wearing a red dress and had a donkey’s breakfast on her head.
See also: breakfast

donkey’s years

n. a long time. (From British colloquial.) I haven’t seen you in donkey’s years.
See also: year
References in classic literature ?
Then the Hunter said that to the old donkey, which was the witch, three beatings and one meal; to the younger one, which was the servant, one beating and three meals; and to the youngest one, which was the maiden, no beating and three meals; for he could not find it in his heart to let the maiden be beaten.
After a couple of days the miller came and said that he must tell him that the old donkey which was to have three beatings and only one meal had died.
There was that rare thing, novelty, about it; it was a fresh, new, exhilarating sensation, this donkey riding, and worth a hundred worn and threadbare home pleasures.
We paid one guide and paid for one muleteer to each donkey.
But I stick up for the donkey, all the same; he's a patient, good-natured fellow.
Perhaps you can think of something more exciting than about the donkey, eh?
But it's good advice for the foolish," said the donkey, admiringly.
Quite a compliment, I declare," exclaimed the donkey, turning to look at Scraps.
There's one, anyhow," replied the donkey, sitting upright on its haunches and waving a hoof toward Button-Bright.
The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?
The donkey was in a state of profound abstraction: wondering, probably, whether he was destined to be regaled with a cabbage-stalk or two when he had disposed of the two sacks of soot with which the little cart was laden; so, without noticing the word of command, he jogged onward.
No man never see a dead donkey 'cept the gen'l'm'n in the black silk smalls as know'd the young 'ooman as kep' a goat; and that wos a French donkey, so wery likely he warn't wun o' the reg'lar breed.
She had never seen such a wide lane before, and, without her knowing why, it gave her the impression that the common could not be far off; perhaps it was because she saw a donkey with a log to his foot feeding on the grassy margin, for she had seen a donkey with that pitiable encumbrance on Dunlow Common when she had been across it in her father's gig.
Very early next morning, Short fulfilled his promise, and knocking softly at her door, entreated that she would get up directly, as the proprietor of the dogs was still snoring, and if they lost no time they might get a good deal in advance both of him and the conjuror, who was talking in his sleep, and from what he could be heard to say, appeared to be balancing a donkey in his dreams.
I would rather find a little Surrey common for myself and idle about it a summer day, with the other geese and donkeys, than climb the tallest Alp.