donkey

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Related to donkeys: donkeys years

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, that

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, that

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

can talk the hind leg(s) off a donkey

Is very (perhaps overly) talkative. Don't start a conversation with Stu if you want to leave on time tonight—that guy can talk the hind leg off a donkey.
See also: can, donkey, hind, off, talk

donkey work

Difficult and tedious work. Oh, don't worry, we can get our interns to do this donkey work for us.
See also: donkey, work

donkey's years

A long time. I haven't been here in donkey's years—I can't believe how much the town has changed.
See also: year

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 years

BRITISH, INFORMAL
If something lasts or has been happening for donkey's years, it lasts or has been happening for a very long time. I've been a vegetarian for donkey's years. He owns some old iron mines that haven't been used in donkey's years. Note: This expression was originally `as long as donkey's ears', which are very long. The change to `donkey's years' may have come about partly because the expression is used to talk about time, and partly because the original form is difficult to say clearly.
See also: year

do the donkey work

BRITISH
If you do the donkey work, you do the most physically tiring or boring parts of a job or piece of work. The bottom lot were the mechanics who did the sheer physical donkey work. We've been very fortunate getting a succession of secretaries who've managed to do the donkey work.
See also: donkey, work

talk the hind leg off a donkey

BRITISH
If you say that someone could talk the hind leg off a donkey, you mean that they talk a lot. You won't be short of conversation with Adrian. He could talk the hind leg off a donkey.
See also: donkey, hind, leg, off, talk

donkey work

the boring or laborious part of a job; drudgery.
2005 The Register I get the Systems guys to do all the donkey work once I'm sure it's up and running properly.
See also: donkey, work

for donkey's years

for a very long time. informal
For donkey's years is a pun referring to the length of a donkey's ears and playing on a former pronunciation of years as ears .
1998 Ardal O'Hanlon The Talk of the Town He'll be no loss, that's for sure. Sure his own family haven't spoken to him for donkey's years.
See also: year

talk the hind leg off a donkey

talk incessantly. British informal
In 1808 talking a horse's hind leg off was described as an ‘old vulgar hyperbole’ in Cobbett's Weekly Political Register , but the version with donkey was current by the mid 19th century. In 1879 Anthony Trollope mentioned talk the hind legs off a dog as an Australian variant.
1970 Nina Bawden The Birds on the Trees Talk, talk—talk the hind leg off a donkey, that one.
See also: donkey, hind, leg, off, talk

the ˈdonkey work

(informal) the hard, boring parts of a job: Why is it always me who has to do the donkey work?
See also: donkey, work

ˈdonkey’s years

(British English, informal) a very long time: She’s lived in that house for donkey’s years.This is a play on words between ‘years’ and ‘ears’, the joke being that donkeys have long ears.
See also: year

talk the hind leg(s) off a ˈdonkey

(informal, humorous) (usually used with can or could) talk for a long time: He would make a good politician — he could talk the hind legs off a donkey!
See also: donkey, hind, leg, 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 she ate, and, as the others had done, she at once lost her human form, and ran as a donkey into the yard.
A fall from one of those donkeys is of little more consequence than rolling off a sofa.
But I stick up for the donkey, all the same; he's a patient, good-natured fellow.
The donkeys stood in a group and eyed the strangers with fear and trembling.
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.
As many of the children as could be kept within bounds, were stowed away, with all the other signs of dirt and poverty, among the donkeys, carts, and horses; and as many as could not be thus disposed of ran in and out in all intricate spots, crept between people's legs and carriage wheels, and came forth unharmed from under horses' hoofs.
and was dragging me against the donkey in a violent manner, as if there were any affinity between that animal and a magistrate, when he changed his mind, jumped into the cart, sat upon my box, and, exclaiming that he would drive to the pollis straight, rattled away harder than ever.
In the afternoon, they would take the donkey and go to the Roches- Noires, near Hennequeville.
But it's good advice for the foolish," said the donkey, admiringly.
The second act opened before Philly Doyle's underground still, with Peggy and her battered donkey come in to smuggle a load of potheen across the bog, and to bring Philly word of what was doing in the world without, and of what was happening along the roadsides and ditches with the first gleam of fine weather.
A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market.
A PHILOSOPHER seeing a Fool beating his Donkey, said:
Well, we might have at least brought a donkey, only a little donkey; that courageous beast which old Silenus loved to mount.
And many a powerful one who wanted to run well with the people, hath harnessed in front of his horses--a donkey, a famous wise man.
Gamfield's most sanguine estimate of his finances could not raise them within full five pounds of the desired amount; and, in a species of arthimetical desperation, he was alternately cudgelling his brains and his donkey, when passing the workhouse, his eyes encountered the bill on the gate.