• synonyms


noun Informal.
  1. a law-enforcement officer who specializes in breaking up organized crime, often by forceful or sensational means.
  2. someone or something having great impact, usually in a positive way.
  3. gangbusters, an outstandingly successful state or situation: We aren't looking for gangbusters, but we'd like you to pass all your subjects this semester.
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adjective Often gangbusters.
  1. of or like a law-enforcement officer who uses rough, aggressive, or sensational tactics in fighting crime: The undercover agents avoided the gangbusters approach.
  2. strikingly effective or successful: a gangbusters year for compact cars.
  3. enthusiastic: I'm not gangbusters over the idea.
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  1. go gangbusters, to be extremely successful: The movie went gangbusters.
  2. like gangbusters, with great speed, intensity, vigor, impact, or success: The software market was growing like gangbusters. The hockey team came on at the beginning of the season like gangbusters.
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Origin of gangbuster

First recorded in 1935–40; gang1 + buster
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of gangbusters

Word Origin and History for gangbusters


to come on like gangbusters (c.1940) is from U.S. radio crimefighting drama "Gangbusters" (1937-57) which opened with a cacophony of sirens, screams, shots, and jarring music.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper