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Unknown. First seen in print around 1960. One theory is that it comes from donkey's years; another is that it is an abbreviation of years, months and weeks.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /jɒŋks/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒŋks


yonks pl (plural only)

  1. (slang, UK, Australia, New Zealand) A long time (especially a longer time than expected); ages
    Haven’t seen him in yonks!
    I’ve been a teacher for yonks—I should really try another career.
    This egg is taking yonks to boil.
    • 1968 August 27, Christopher Ward, “The Christopher Ward Page”, in Daily Mirror, London, page 7:
      I rang singer Julie Driscoll ... She said: "I haven't heard from you for yonks..."
    • 1975 January 28, Bill Stewart, “Comic Cuts”, in Evening Chronicle, number 30393, Newcastle, page 7:
      Alas, the comics for that age group have nearly all picture stories today -- and of course the ones for younger readers have been that way for yonks (sorry, years).
    • 1982, Alan Bennett, “A Woman of No Importance”, in The Complete Talking Heads, Picador, published 2010, →ISBN, page 14:
      It's what Miss Brunskill calls ‘our little backwater’. We're more or less fixtures there and have been for yonks.