domesticated member of the horse family
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Donkeys or asses, Equus africanus asinus, are domesticated members of the Equidae or horse family.
- A wilful plough-ox should be put back in the track, a balking ass should be made to take the straight path.
- ASS, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator, and everywhere the Donkey. The animal is widely and variously celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and country; no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this noble vertebrate. Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, lib. II., De Clem., and C. Stantatus, De Temperamente) if it is not a god; and as such we know it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians also. Of the only two animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with the souls of men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers the other. This is no small distinction. From what has been written about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all literature is more or less Asinine.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- Poor little foal of an oppressèd race!
I love the languid patience of thy face.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "To a Young Ass" (1794), line 1.
- John Trott was desired by two witty peers
To tell them the reason why asses had ears.
"An 't please you," quoth John, "I'm not given to letters;
Nor dare I pretend to know more than my betters:
Howe'er, from this time I shall ne'er see your graces,
As I hope to be saved! without thinking on asses."
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Clown's Reply; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 45.