Definition of donnybrook in English:



Australian, North American, NZ
  • A scene of uproar and disorder; a heated argument.

    ‘raucous ideological donnybrooks’
    • ‘He was more upbeat, feeling the donnybrook had cleared the air.’
    • ‘But even a donnybrook might be better than stone-cold silence.’
    • ‘Nothing like a little donnybrook to build a bit of team spirit.’
    • ‘Only the intervention of the local constabulary prevented a full-scale donnybrook.’
    • ‘It will be interesting to see whether the ‘public use’ issue becomes a factor in the donnybrook that is brewing over the next Supreme Court nominee.’
    • ‘I believe that if you're going to have a loud public hissy snit with a total stranger you have the obligation to eventually let it escalate into a shrieking, hair-pulling, rolling-on-the-ground donnybrook and really give the crowd a show.’
    • ‘Because we work at a think tank that studies workplace issues, we had ringside seats at what became an all-too-typical Washington donnybrook in which the special interests prevailed over the public interest.’
    • ‘This stylistic donnybrook - one of hip-hop's most distinctive - has been met with equal parts approbation and bafflement.’
    • ‘This donnybrook marked the end of an unbroken series of six Republican presidential victories that reached back to Abraham Lincoln's first win in 1860.’
    • ‘The race for a successor is a three-way donnybrook where anything could happen - including the election of another Independent.’
    • ‘Although the third man in the contest had been overshadowed by the megadollar donnybrook being waged by the frontrunners, the press had not forgotten him.’
    • ‘People were accused of entering into the donnybrook without experience, knowledge, good faith, rationality, sobriety or even their own hitherto recognisable identities.’
    • ‘Based on the Sunday morning talk shows, it appears that the nomination will be a donnybrook.’
    • ‘But a donnybrook is brewing between those that offer the new services and those that need to protect their old technology.’
    • ‘I braced myself for the all-time donnybrook of our marriage.’
    • ‘Funding isn't the only political donnybrook in the offing when the renewal of welfare reform is debated next year.’
    • ‘His impassioned diatribes are laced with the queasy petulance of someone who already knows he's lost the fight, going to the mat with a whine instead of a real donnybrook.’
    • ‘‘Scramble’ is the right word for this donnybrook.’
    • ‘Direct confrontation - verbal or otherwise - may only succeed in sparking a fan-on-fan donnybrook.’
    • ‘What, then, is the alternative to a donnybrook?’
    disturbance, racket, uproar, tumult, ruckus, clamour, brouhaha, furore, hue and cry, palaver, fuss, stir, to-do, storm, maelstrom, melee
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Mid 19th century: from the name of a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, formerly famous for its annual fair.