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Barnstorm is an interesting word that has been around for several hundred years. It is a closed compound word, which is a word composed of two separate words that were used together so often that they eventually became melded into one word. We will examine the meaning of the term barnstorm, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Barnstorm means to travel around from small town to small town putting on shows, exhibitions or making political speeches. The first barnstorming occurred in the early 1800s around the state of New York, when comedy troops traveled around the countryside putting on their shows in barns. The term barnstorm carries a connotation of an impressive display put on rapidly and then moving quickly to the next venue. Most people in the United States are familiar with the barnstorming that took place during the 1920s and 1930s, when pilots of small planes traveled around the country putting on aerial displays and offering rides for a fee. Today, barnstorm is most often used to indicate a style of frenetic political campaigning. Barnstorm may be used as a verb or a noun, related words are barnstorms, barnstormed, barnstorming, barnstormer.


He originated the part in the 1951 Broadway premiere, won an Oscar for his performance in the 1956 film, and continued to barnstorm back into the show over the next three decades. (The Boston Globe)

The Wednesday rally at the state Capitol was one stop in something of a barnstorm by de Blasio, who has been pushing the mansion tax plan among seniors, including at two senior center stops on Thursday. (The Gotham Gazette)

After the initial restart in the final, Manders, who had carried great car speed throughout the night, raced to the lead but his barnstorming run around the high line came to a crashing halt. (The Western Australian)