General English


  • A visual representation of information, or of relationships between quantities or sets of data. For example, a pie chart. Also called graph (1).
  • A sheet of paper, or other appropriate material, ruled and graduated for use by a recording instrument.
  • A map utilized to aid navigation.


  • (written as Chart)
    A visual representation, usually a graph, of movements in the price or exchange rate of a security or currency over a period of time. Foreign exchange analysts and traders examine charts to detect patterns that can be used to predict future changes in currency exchange rates.

Media Studies

  • verb to appear in the charts of best-selling recordings


  • noun a record of information shown as a series of lines or points on graph paper


  • noun a map of an area of water (such as sea, river or lake)


  • noun a map of a sea or river, showing the depth of water and where rocks and sandbanks are located
  • noun a diagram showing information as a series of e.g. lines or blocks

Origin & History of “chart”

English card and chart are related. both come from Latin charta ‘paper’, but whereas card was routed via French carte, and for some reason changed its t to a d, chart was borrowed directly from the Latin word, in which the meaning ‘map’ had already developed.

Latin charta originally denoted ‘leaf of the papyrus plant’, and developed the sense ‘paper’ because paper was originally made from papyrus (indeed the English word paper comes from papyrus). It came from Greek khártēs, which is probably of Egyptian origin. It has provided the basis of a number of other English words besides card and chart, including charter (13th c.), which comes via Old French from Latin chartula, a diminutive form of charta; carton (19th c.), which comes from a French derivative, and was originally used in English for the ‘white disc at the centre of a target’; and, via Italian carta, cartel, cartoon, cartouche, and cartridge. Cartel (16th c.) comes via French from the Italian diminutive form cartello, which meant literally ‘placard’. It was used metaphorically for ‘letter of defiance’, and entered English with the sense ‘written challenge’. The modern commercial sense comes from German kartell. Cartouche (17th c.) comes via French from Italian cartoccio. It originally signified a ‘cartridge’, made from a roll or twist of paper; the modern architectural sense of ‘ornamental tablet’ arose from its original scroll-like shape. Cartridge (16th c.) is an English modification of cartouche; an intermediate form was cartage.