All Words > Stemwinder

illustration Stemwinder



Part of speech: noun

Origin: American English, 18th century


(informal) An entertaining and rousing speech.


(dated) A watch wound by turning a knob on the end of a stem.

Examples of Stemwinder in a sentence

"The candidate delivered a stemwinder so powerful her lead rose in the polls the next day."

"The coach gave a half-time stemwinder that revived the team's energy and confidence to pull out a win."

About Stemwinder

“Stemwinder” was formed within English to describe expensive watches whose winding mechanism was atop a stem.

Did you Know?

“Stemwinder” refers to a mostly forgotten technology: stem-wind watches, which were high-end timepieces when they were invented in the 1840s. From this notion of luxury items powered by winding came the modern term “stemwinder,” referring to a top-notch speech with the power to wind its listeners up. A stemwinder no longer has anything to do with watches — though some have mistakenly used the term to mean a speech so long that those in the crowd might begin to wind their watches out of boredom. During the course of a real stemwinder, however, nobody has time to fiddle with their watch — they’re too busy being wound up by invigorating oratory.

illustration Stemwinder

Recent Words

What's the word?