Q From Jess Paxton in the USA: Is there a story behind the phrase donkey’s years?
A It’s a pun on donkey’s ears, they being long. The phrase, meaning a long time, is chiefly in British use, though known in the USA and elsewhere, and was first recorded in 1916 as donkey’s ears (which is why we’re sure about the punning origin). Within ten years or so it is recorded in the modern form. The idea was supported by the belief that donkeys did in fact live a very long time.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
By hook or by crook; Polish off; Loggerhead; Lame duck; But and ben; Logomaniac; Type louse; Corium; Lie Doggo; Fewmet; Dingbat; Kibosh; Caucus; Oryzivorous; Kick the bucket; Satisficer; Beside oneself; Words of the Year 2015; Peradventure; Sconce; Orchidelirium; How’s your father; Goon; Emoji; Thank your mother for the rabbits; Nonplussed; Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!