like gangbusters

gangbuster

[gang-buhs-ter]
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.
adjective Often, gangbusters.
4.
of or like a law-enforcement officer who uses rough, aggressive, or sensational tactics in fighting crime: The undercover agents avoided the gangbusters approach.
5.
strikingly effective or successful: a gangbusters year for compact cars.
6.
enthusiastic: I'm not gangbusters over the idea.
Idioms
7.
go gangbusters, to be extremely successful: The movie went gangbusters.
8.
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.

Origin:
1935–40; gang1 + buster

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

like gangbusters

Energetically, forcefully, loudly. For example, This is a soft passagethe 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]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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