verb (used without object)
  1. to conduct a campaign or speaking tour in rural areas by making brief stops in many small towns.
  2. Theater. to tour small towns to stage theatrical performances.
  3. (of a pilot) to give exhibitions of stunt flying, participate in airplane races, etc., in the course of touring country towns and rural areas.
  4. (of a professional athletic team) to tour an area playing exhibition games after the regular season.
verb (used with object)
  1. 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. 2018

Related Words for barnstorming

canvass, travel, campaign, troupe

Examples from the Web for barnstorming

Contemporary Examples of barnstorming

Historical Examples of barnstorming

  • 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 (intr)
  1. to tour rural districts putting on shows, esp theatrical, athletic, or acrobatic shows
  2. 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 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