Definition of barn-burning

chiefly US, informal
: very energetic and impassioned a barn-burning orator barn-burning performances : prolonged and exciting … he thought the market would begin a barn-burning rally as the leading world economies showed signs of life.— Robert Hurtado, New York Times, 18 June 1993 Canada sneaked past the United States 69–62 in a barn-burning semi-final that went to double overtime … — Will Swanton, The Age (Melbourne, Australia), 16 Sept. 2008

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of barn-burning

1965, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about barn-burning

Statistics for barn-burning

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for barn-burning

The first known use of barn-burning was in 1965

See more words from the same year

Comments on barn-burning

What made you want to look up barn-burning? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!