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 formsbarn·storm·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for barnstorm

canvass, travel, campaign, troupe

Examples from the Web for barnstorm

Contemporary Examples of barnstorm

  • Now he ought to take his show on the road, barnstorm the country in behalf of the tax hike, see what happens.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Ya Think Susan Rice Is Happy Today?

    Michael Tomasky

    November 14, 2012

  • Just get in the same plane and barnstorm the country together.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Grill Him Again!

    Mark McKinnon

    February 3, 2010

  • I half-expected him to barnstorm out in riding boots and harangue us, Mussolini-style, underlit from a plinth.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama Frees His Mojo

    Tina Brown

    September 10, 2009

British Dictionary definitions for barnstorm


verb (intr)

to tour rural districts putting on shows, esp theatrical, athletic, or acrobatic shows
mainly US and Canadian to tour rural districts making speeches in a political campaign
Derived Formsbarnstormer, nounbarnstorming, noun, adjective

Word Origin for barnstorm

C19: from barn 1 + 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

Word Origin and History for barnstorm

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