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Donkeys Ears

Donkeys Ears

June 15, 2006

It took me years to figure out what my Irish friends meant when they said "donkey's years" to questions about time involved in things. I didn't see the conneciton between "donkey's years" and time spent. Red Mum blogged about the term and things made more sense.

From World Wide Words: [Q] 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.

Red Mum -- "Donkey's Ears"