One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1informal An entertaining and rousing speech.‘a stem-winder of a speech’
- ‘Some news, like Democrat Barack Obama's dazzling stem-winder last July, took place when the networks were airing sitcom repeats or reality shows.’
- ‘How about Rush Limbaugh hanging out while John Kerry delivers his stem-winder?’
- ‘To say it wasn't a stem-winder is simply to say that it wasn't like Barack Obama's speech a few nights back, or Clinton's, or even Clark's or Sharpton's for that matter.’
- ‘His was no Gettysburg Address, to be sure, but compared to some of the stem-winders of history, Mr. Clinton's speech, delivered at a rapid pace, flew by.’
- ‘Giuliani used some of the most overt forms in order to present a classic political stem-winder.’
2dated A watch wound by turning a knob on the end of a stem.
Stem-winder (sense 1) from the notion of ‘winding up’ or causing a lively reaction from those listening.
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