donkey's years


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Related to donkey's years: 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

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

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

donkey’s years

n. a long time. (From British colloquial.) I haven’t seen you in donkey’s years.
See also: year

donkey's years

A long time. The origin here is disputed. Some say it is a rhyming term for donkey’s ears, which are quite long, and possibly also a punning allusion to the Cockney pronunciation of “years” as “ears”; others believe it alludes to donkeys being quite long-lived. The expression dates only from the late nineteenth century. Edward Lucas used it in The Vermilion Box (1916): “Now for my first bath for what the men call ‘donkey’s years,’ meaning years and years.”
See also: year
References in periodicals archive ?
Will the doting mum-of-six agree to go on her first date in donkey's years? And if she does, who is in for the bigger surprise - Agnes or the stranger?
"I'm worried for my business - some of us in Hoylake have been here for donkey's years. It's a quiet little place and I'm surprised they want to open here.
Steven is still a top player and has been for donkey's years, but everyone has to be replaceable.
QWHY do people say donkey's years to indicate a long time?
"It's very exciting and the best evidence we've had in donkey's years. It's images like this that will keep me going with my hunt for the next 20 years."
@chris_kammy: Good luck to TC Terry Connor landing the Wolves job, never mind circumstances, he has served the club loyally for donkey's years.
Lynda Chadwick, day centre organiser, said of Phyllis: "She's really interesting to talk to, because she can go back donkey's years!"
Poor old Steve, needing just one of the last four frames to win his first title in donkey's years, could only sit and suffer as Ronnie, following what had seemed like a ludicrously premature concession to put himself in such peril, produced some phenomenal snooker to foil the fairytale finish.
Even though the 53-year-old has been tagged Elton's lyricist for donkey's years, fans may be surprised to discover that Taupin has also had success with big name bands such as Heart and singers like Jefferson Starship as well as Willie Nelson.
I HAVE known John Slim for donkey's years so in case you think I'm giving a free plug to an old chum - you're right.
"The collection box has been here for donkey's years so we would love to have him back, particularly because he is so popular with the children," Mairi said.
I HAVEN'T been in a night club for donkey's years and I certainly wouldn't pay to go into one.
The House of Lords has needed reforming for donkey's years, whereas the last thing we can do with is a reduction of our MPs.
And he said of crisps, made famous in the old TV ad for the "canny bag" - "I've not heard of that make of crisps for donkey's years, so that tells you how long ago it was.