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.
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 5, 2010

Historical Examples

The poison has done its work, and there is no employment here for a man suspected of being a barn-burner.
The Pioneer Boys of the Ohio Harrison Adams

Coming from our old home, he tells us the barn-burner has been found, and confessed his crime!
The Pioneer Boys of the Ohio Harrison Adams


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+)


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