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Named from Donnybrook Fair, a notoriously disorderly event, held annually from 1204 until the middle of the 19th century.



donnybrook ‎(plural donnybrooks)

  1. A brawl or fracas; a scene of chaos.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘His Chance in Life’, Plain Tales from the Hills (Folio 2005), page 56:
      But the Hindus turned out and broke their heads; when, finding lawlessness pleasant, Hindus and Muhammadans together raised an aimless sort of Donnybrook just to see how far they could go.
    • 1988, James McPherson, Battle Cry for Freedom (Oxford 2003), page 200:
      Sherman's signature caused another donnybrook over the election of a speaker of the House when the 36th Congress convened in December 1859.
    • 2002, Joseph O'Connor, Star of the Sea (Vintage 2003), page 223:
      This was no innocuous donnybrook but a veritable carnival of thuggee.