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[bahrn-bur-ner] /ˈbɑrnˌbɜr nər/
Informal. something that is highly exciting, impressive, etc.:
The All Stars game was a real barnburner.
Chiefly Pennsylvania. a wooden friction match.
(initial capital letter) a member of the progressive faction in the Democratic Party in New York State 1845–52.
Compare Hunker.
Origin of barnburner
1835-45, Americanism; barn1 + burner; (def 3) so called with reference to burning down a barn to get rid of rats Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for barn-burner
Contemporary Examples
  • It was a barn-burner, which had the crowd laughing and cheering at his challenges to mainstream media.

    The Tea Party, Day 2 John Avlon February 6, 2010
Historical Examples
  • The poison has done its work, and there is no employment here for a man suspected of being a barn-burner.

  • Coming from our old home, he tells us the barn-burner has been found, and confessed his crime!

Slang definitions & phrases for barn-burner



Anything sensational or exciting; a great success: They may have a barn burner of a natural gas well or a dry hole/ George's Bank has proved to be, in the words of one oil-company executive, ''no barn-burner'' (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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