Definition of yonks in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /jɒŋks/

plural noun

British informal
A very long time: I haven’t seen him for yonks
More example sentences
  • The shop that stocked such items closed down yonks ago.
  • It was another black day for the blue-blooded Fraser clan, which is still in denial after losing its Highland estate yonks ago.
  • I was back at the bar at this point watching the proceedings when I spotted someone I knew from yonks ago.


1960s: origin unknown; perhaps related to donkey's years (see donkey).

  • donkey from late 18th century:

    Before the late 18th century a donkey was an ass. At first the word donkey was used only in slang and dialect, and its origin is lost. Early references indicate that it rhymed with monkey, and this has prompted some to suggest that it comes from the colour dun (Old English) or from the man's name Duncan. The expression for donkey's years, ‘for a very long time’, is a pun referring to the length of a donkey's ears and playing on an old pronunciation of ears which was the same as that of years. The British expression yonks, with the same meaning, may derive from it. See also easel

Words that rhyme with yonks

Bronx, Tonks

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: yonks

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.