Donkey work

What does "Donkey work" mean?

Today it means: Hard or heavy work.

The "donkey" refers to a small steam engine known as a "donkey engine" which was commonly used as a winch, pump or saw on later sailing ships. If the donkey engine was broken or not available then the sailors would need to do the donkey work instead.

   

By SailingQuiz October 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              



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There are 423 other nautical phrases, sayings and sailing terms listed on this website today. "Donkey work" is just one of them. Many have been around for years and have entered our everyday use; but do you know what they mean and where they came from? This is where you find out.

Nautical sayings and phrases

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What does Donkey work mean?

What is the nautical origin of the phrase "Donkey work"?

Definition of the nautical phrase "Donkey work".

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