There is a chart for anything. The chart that lists top 5, 10 or 20 anything. Busting is probably used to show the impact of that something on the chart. The thing which is on the TOP of the list is certainly chartbuster.

In that sense, anything that tops the list can be called chartbuster. [I'm aware of the word bestseller which is used for the books].

But dictionaries say that its use is restricted to the list of soundtracks. Thinking in literary sense, chartbuster could be anything that tops the list.

Can we use chartbuster for anything other than music/soundtracks? Say games?

We have developed some chartbuster games on Google Play and iTunes.

  • 1
    Books are usually called bestsellers, not chartbusters. Just because you can put any data on a chart doesn't mean everyone will start referring to your chart as the charts (as has happened with pop music).
    – J.R.
    Jun 25, 2014 at 9:25
  • @J.R. I'm very much aware of bestsellers. Here, I'm talking about the chart of top rated mobile games on Google Play or iTunes. There they are quite clear about the ranking. May I use chartbuster games?
    – Maulik V
    Jun 25, 2014 at 9:30
  • Read my comment more carefully. Where are games "charted"? (If that's not a standard use, I would avoid chartbuster games. Yes, you can say it; yes, you may say it, but that doesn't mean you should say it.) I mentioned bestseller books because of your first two sentences. For books, they are called the bestseller lists, not the bestseller charts.
    – J.R.
    Jun 25, 2014 at 9:39
  • @J.R. OMG! Where did I mention books? What first two sentences? Books is out of context, completely. I said anything that tops the chart --games, articles, news, gadgets or anything...
    – Maulik V
    Jun 25, 2014 at 9:59
  • "There is a chart for anything." That wouldn't include books? "The chart that lists top 5, 10 or 20 anything." That's not what a bestseller list does? "Can we use chartbuster for anything other than music/soundtracks? Say games?" Games would be one example. Books would be another. I don't see how "books" is out of context with "or anything..."
    – J.R.
    Jun 25, 2014 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Chartbuster and chartbusting arose in the 1950s as a marketing/promotions term designating recordings which “broke” or “busted” onto the national “charts” of bestsellers, and it has since been extended to other commodities, mostly in entertainment: books, movies, games.

There was however a somewhat older parallel usage for sales: ‘chartbusting’ sales were those which increased so sharply that the line representing the value “busted through” the top of existing graph. My impression (and it is no more than that) is that this is closer to how chartbuster and chartbusting tend to be used outside the recording industry—for works which approach or break sales records. It’s not enough to make it onto the list of bestsellers—you have to be at or near the top of the list over a long period.

Some more general observations: Any word or phrase may be extended beyond its original scope to similar or analogous situations. Whether a particular novel use is “acceptable” depends only on its being accepted—used and understood—in discourse. Eventually the dictionaries will catch up.

So your best authority for contemporary usage is not a dictionary but a corpus of actual utterances. The most accessible such corpus for popular use is Google; sure enough, if you Google “chartbuster games” you will find several such uses. Several of these are false hits on a game named “Chartbuster”, but there are others like this:

Below we have short-listed some of the chartbuster games of this year. They simply excel with their breath-taking visual effects and classy gameplay. They are being highly talked about not only among gamers worldwide but also among game critics. —blog.game4u.com, “The Game of the Year Contenders 2013”, posted 11/27/2013

A question which remains is whether the uses you find suggest suitability to the context and register in which you want to work. That is a judgment call.

Or at least I found—Google reports different results in different places.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .