- a law-enforcement officer who specializes in breaking up organized crime, often by forceful or sensational means.
- someone or something having great impact, usually in a positive way.
- 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.
adjective Often gangbusters.
- of or like a law-enforcement officer who uses rough, aggressive, or sensational tactics in fighting crime: The undercover agents avoided the gangbusters approach.
- strikingly effective or successful: a gangbusters year for compact cars.
- enthusiastic: I’m not gangbusters over the idea.
- go gangbusters, to be extremely successful: The movie went gangbusters.
- 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.
Energetically, forcefully, loudly. For example, This is a soft passage—the horns shouldn’t come in like gangbusters. This expression alludes to a popular radio series entitled Gangbusters, which featured explosive sound effects, such as gunfire and sirens, at the beginning of each episode. [Slang; late 1930s]