When you say that an event was a barnburner, what you mean is that it was excellent or very exciting.  In other words, something that is a barnburner arouses a great deal of interest.

Examples: “I thought that the match between Federer and Nadal would be a barnburner. I was thoroughly disappointed.” * “When India and Pakistan play an ODI, it’s always a barnburner.” * Many of the commentators said World Cup final was a barnburner.

The expression `barnburner’ is mostly used in informal contexts.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – July 17, 2006


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