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[bahrn-stawrm] /ˈbɑrnˌstɔrm/
verb (used without object)
to conduct a campaign or speaking tour in rural areas by making brief stops in many small towns.
Theater. to tour small towns to stage theatrical performances.
(of a pilot) to give exhibitions of stunt flying, participate in airplane races, etc., in the course of touring country towns and rural areas.
(of a professional athletic team) to tour an area playing exhibition games after the regular season.
verb (used with object)
to tour (various places) as a barnstormer.
Origin of barnstorm
First recorded in 1880-85; barn1 + storm
Related forms
barnstormer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for barnstorming
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I had heard of but had never known what "barnstorming" meant before.

    Nat Goodwin's Book Nat C. Goodwin
  • Usually though, it only ends in talk, and the teams make a barnstorming trip to San Francisco or to Cuba.

British Dictionary definitions for barnstorming


verb (intransitive)
to tour rural districts putting on shows, esp theatrical, athletic, or acrobatic shows
(mainly US & Canadian) to tour rural districts making speeches in a political campaign
Derived Forms
barnstormer, noun
barnstorming, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from barn1 + storm (vb); from the performances often being in barns
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for barnstorming



1815, in reference to a theatrical troupe's performances in upstate New York barns (usually featuring short action pieces to suit vulgar tastes); extended 1896 to electioneering, 1928 to itinerant airplane pilots who performed stunts at fairs and races. Related: Barnstormed; barnstorming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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