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barn +‎ storm (due to performances commonly delivered in barns)



barnstorm (third-person singular simple present barnstorms, present participle barnstorming, simple past and past participle barnstormed)

  1. To travel around the countryside making political speeches etc.
  2. (US) To appear at fairs and carnivals in exhibitions of stunt flying, sporting events, or theater.
  3. (US, of a sports team) To travel from town to town performing in front of small crowds. [1][2][3] [4]


  • 1899, Mark Twain, as cited in 1901, J. B. Pond, Eccentricities of Genius, page 227
    I'm not going to barnstorm the platform any more, but I am glad you have corralled Howells.
  • 2005, Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, Mencken: The American Iconoclast, page 109
    It wasn't just the smell of perfumes that assailed his nose every time he entered a stuffy auditorium that he found unwelcome; it was the childish playwriting and barnstorm acting that was driving out the intelligent theatergoer and the production of less commercial plays.
  • 2006, Ethan Wolff, Frommer's Irreverent Guide to Manhattan, page 242
    Smaller bands play the clubs ..., while the more established acts barnstorm through New York's surfeit of midsize halls.



barnstorm (plural barnstorms)

  1. A series of appearances in small country towns, as by a politician or a travelling theatre group.