Noun phrase. Mid-20th century.
[Turkish doner kebap, from doner rotating + kebap kebab.]
A Turkish dish consisting of spiced lamb roasted on a vertical rotating spit and sliced thinly.
Many years ago, at the tender age of 15, I was out on the town with a girl I rather liked and, always one that knew how to show a lady a good time, we stopped on the way home from the pub to buy a doner kebab. While queuing, she asked what type of meat a doner kebab is made from, and I freely admitted that I did not know. Unabashed by my own ignorance, I gallantly stepped forward and asked the girl who was serving at the till. "Tell me, my good lady," I said, "what type of meat is this doner kebab made from?" The girl stared back at me blankly, as if I had asked the most stupid question in the world. "It's doner," she said, in an Essex accent that made me think her name was probably Donna. "Umm, yes I know," I said, "but what type of meat is it?" She stuck to her story, now speaking as if I was deaf as well as stupid: "It's doner." Not drunk enough to push the point, I sheepishly went back to my inamorata and gave her the results of my inquires: "Umm ... apparently it's doner." I don't think we ever went out again. As the etymology shows, doner is neither a meat not an animal, but is actually Turkish for rotating. And, as I subsequently learned for all future dates, a doner kebab is generally made of lamb.
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