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"hard as a donnick"

Posted by Bob on June 17, 2006

In Reply to: "Hard as a donnick" posted by Sabrina on June 17, 2006

: Hello - I've got Irish, Scottish and English background. My mother used to say a strange phrase that I've been thinking of lately, but can't find what the last word is/means. She used to say that when something was very hard (like a rock), that it was, "hard as a donnick". (donic, daenick?). I'm not even sure how it's spelled. Does anyone know what a donic is??

: Can you shed any light on what this is? Thanks, Sabrina

It took a little detective work, but I found this possibility in an online dictionary:

dor·nick2 P Pronunciation Key (dôrnk)
n. Lower Northern U.S.
A stone small enough to throw from a field being cleared.

[Probably from Irish Gaelic dornóg, a small round stone.]
Regional Note: The word dornick is used from Pennsylvania westward to Iowa. It probably comes from Irish Gaelic dornóg, "a small round stone." Craig M. Carver, author of American Regional Dialects, attributes the introduction of the term to the Scotch-Irish Protestants from Northern Ireland who emigrated to America in the 18th century. Dornick must have been one of the "few purely Irish terms" in the otherwise English and Scots lexicon of the Scotch-Irish.

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