1 : a stem-winding watch
2 : one that is first-rate of its kind; especially : a stirring speech
Stuart is a stem-winder as a defense attorney.
"In his 48-minute stem-winder Wednesday, the former president showed everyone why he's a master political communicator." - From an article by Linda Feldmann in The Christian Science Monitor, September 6, 2012
Did You Know?
The stem-winder is a watch wound by means of a stem, as opposed to the older method of winding with a key. The stem-winder was introduced to the marketplace in the late 19th century, and it wound up being such a hit with consumers that people soon turned to using the mechanism's name for exceptional people or things in general. Before "stem-winder" referred to a kind of watch, it was used in colloquial English (especially in the western part of the United States) as a word for a geared logging locomotive. Another name for such a locomotive is "corkscrew."
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
What is the meaning of the adjective "boffo"? The answer is ...