Fun With English

A way with words

Barn Burner

Today’s phrase is barn burner.  I can honestly say I’d never heard the expression barn burner before today. Someone used it on a call, and of course I wanted to know what it meant!

Explanation: A barn burner is something that arouses much excitement or interest.

Example:  The Superbowl is always a barn burner – it’s always sold out, and millions of people tune it to watch it.

Origin: The Barnburners were a radical faction of the New York state Democratic party in the mid-19th century.  It is thought to been derived from the notion that someone would burn down their barn (i.e. take drastic action) just to get rid of a rat infestation. And the “Barnburner” faction would take equally drastic action – destroy all banks and corporations, to root out their abuses.  To learn more, check out this article on Barnburners.

My Name is Carolyn

My nick name is Carolyn, and I have a B.A. in English from a Canadian university. I have been a documentation writer since graduation, and always had a love of words. I hope to share that love (and my offbeat sense of humour) with people, while helping them learn about all the craziness the English language has to offer. Click Here