A barn burner is an event that is extremely exciting, or a person who is extremely exciting. Typically, barn burner is a term that is applied to intense sporting events. An American phrase, barn burner was first coined as one word, barnburner, to describe a certain type of politician in the mid-1800s. This early use of barnburner described someone who, when faced with a barn infested with rats, was willing to burn down the barn in order to get rid of the rats. American wildcat oilmen were the next to use the word barnburner, to describe a gusher oil well. Today, barn burner is almost always rendered as two words, hyphenated when used as an adjective, and is often augmented with the word real, as in a real barn burner.
It was a barn burner as the Hurricanes and Highlanders matched basket for basket to close the first quarter tied 21-21. (The Coastal Courier)
So I looked it up. And, Holy cow: This sermon was a barn burner. (The Dallas Morning News)
But it’s been a barn-burner of a year for investors luckily enough to pick the year’s best stocks. (USA Today)
She has not one but two barn-burner performances in theaters right now, in Carol and Truth, she’s fresh off playing an all-time iconic Disney villain in Cinderella, and next year she’ll lend her voice to Jungle Book: Origins, because why not. (Vanity Fair Magazine)
Robert Dion, a professor of political science at the University of Evansville, said the early involvement of Pence’s proxies in the rematch with Gregg, who was narrowly defeated in 2012, shows the race “has the makings of a barn burner.” (The Indianapolis Business Journal)
The CSG (cinsault, syrah, grenache) is a real barn-burner. (The Burlington Free Press)