Donkey is one of the main characters from Dreamworks' 2001 computer animated film Shrek. Donkey is voiced by Eddie Murpy. (Beware of spoilers, especially below the line.) The following blurb is HOCR from the movie's offical site,

This Donkey's no jackass, he talks, sings, dances, hums, and just won't shut up. As Shreck's unlikely sidekick, it doesn't take long to see his charming and optimistic nature. He finds true friendship and a hot romance where he least expects it.

Go-between for Shrek and Princess Fiona, Donkey can be annoying, but his antics are usually amusing. Often you chant with Shrek his countless requests for Donkey's silence.

Also known as an ass or a burro (spanish), the donkey is a relative of the horse. Donkeys, horses, and zebras are all part of the Equus genus. Compared to horses, donkeys are smaller and have larger ears. They also have one fewer lumbar vertebrae, a tufted tail rather than a flowing tail and no forelocks on the mane.

Donkeys are commonly used as pack and work animals. Their natural instinct is to freeze, rather than to flee like a horse. Additionally, they naturally attack canines, so they are often used to protect herds of sheep and goats from coyotes and wolves. It is believed they were domesticated around 4500 years ago.

Donkeys can be crossbred with both horses and zebras. The offspring of a male donkey and a female horse is known as a mule and the less common offspring of a male horse and a female donkey is called a hinny. Donkey/zebra crosses are called zebrasses or zonkeys.

In literature today, the donkey often represents stupidity. In the tales of societies where donkeys are or were still present, it is also seen as a lustful creature. This is the sense behind the title of Apuleius' The Golden Ass.

The Donkey

G. K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked,
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things;

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me--I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet -
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.

Don"key (?), n.; pl. Donkeys (#). [Prob. dun, in allusion to the color of the animal + a dim. termination.]


An ass; or (less frequently) a mule.


A stupid or obstinate fellow; an ass.

Donkey engine, a small auxiliary engine not used for propelling, but for pumping water into the boilers, raising heavy weights, and like purposes. -- Donkey pump, a steam pump for feeding boilers, extinguishing fire, etc.; -- usually an auxiliary. -- Donkey's eye Bot., the large round seed of the Mucuna pruriens, a tropical leguminous plant.


© Webster 1913.

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