antedating "donkey"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Feb 18 05:18:03 UTC 2013

At 2/17/2013 03:51 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>On Feb 17, 2013, at 2:56 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > On Sun, Feb 17, 2013 at 8:47 AM, Jonathan Lighter
> > <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> >> Dunkey
> >
> > Assuming [d^NkI], it matches the BE pronunciation of "donkey," as
> > opposed to, e.g. BE "hunky" [hONkI].
> >
> > --
> > -Wilson
>I pronounce it that way too (well, actually,
>[d^Nki]), rhyming with "monkey", and get teased
>for it (e.g. by my children).  I think in my
>case it may simply have arisen as a spelling
>pronunciation, caused precisely by the fact that
>it *is* spelled like the more familiar (to me)
>"monkey".  I certainly didn't realize it was a
>diminutive of "Duncan"--but that will be useful
>to bring up next time I'm teased about it.

DonQui xoté? Or dunk[y]e donut?

My pronunciation (NYC) is the latter. (Same for
"monkey", which I do not pronounce like "monk".)

But I'm more interested in the fact that no-one
has commented that the (now) earliest citation
for "donkey" makes it a pig!  It morphed into an
ass very quickly, sometime between Fred's 1774 and the OED's 1785.


The American Dialect Society -

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