AskDefine | Define chart

Dictionary Definition



1 a visual display of information
2 a map designed to assist navigation by air or sea


1 make a chart of; "chart the territory"
2 plan in detail; "Bush is charting a course to destroy Saddam Hussein"
3 represent by means of a graph; "chart the data" [syn: graph]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Greek chartes, Latin carta, chart. Charte, a sheet of paper to which the Stoic philosophers compared the soul at birth.



  1. A map for a very particular purpose, such as shipping or aeroplanes/airplanes, showing information useful for that purpose and ignoring most other information.
  2. A subspace of a manifold used as part of an atlas
  3. A graphical presentation of something.

Derived terms


nautical map
graphical presentation of data


  1. To draw a chart or map.
  2. To draw or figure out a route or plan.
    "Let's chart how we're going to get from here to there."
  3. [intrans.] (of a record) appear on a hit-recording chart.
    "The song has charted for 1500 weeks!"


draw a chart or map
draw or figure out a route or plan

Extensive Definition

A chart or graph is a type of information graphic or graphic organizer that represents tabular numeric data and/or functions. Charts are often used to make it easier to understand large quantities of data and the relationship between different parts of the data. Charts can usually be read more quickly than the raw data that they come from. They are used in a wide variety of fields, and can be created by hand (often on graph paper) or by computer using a charting application.
Certain types of charts are more useful for presenting a given data set than others. For example, data that presents percentages in different groups (such as "satisfied, not satisfied, unsure") are often displayed in a pie chart, but are more easily understood when presented in a horizontal bar chart . On the other hand, data that represents numbers that change over a period of time (such as "annual revenue from 1990 to 2000") might be best shown as a line chart.
Usage note: many information graphics or diagrams include the word "chart" in their name but are covered in those other articles (e.g., flowchart, org chart, smith chart).

Types of charts

Common charts

  • A scatterplot uses Cartesian coordinates to show the relation of two or more quantitative variables.
  • A histogram typically shows the quantity of points that fall within various numeric ranges (or bins).
  • A bar graph uses bars to show frequencies or values for different categories.
  • A pie chart shows percentage values as a slice of a pie.
  • A line chart is a two-dimensional scatterplot of ordered observations where the observations are connected following their order.

Less-common charts

  • A box plot (or box-and-whiskers plot) shows information about the distribution (minimum, maximum, mean average, etc.) along a single axis.
  • A bubble chart is a two-dimensional scatterplot where a third variable is represented by the size of the points.
  • A doughnut chart
  • A Polar area diagram (developed by Florence Nightingale) is an enhanced form of pie chart.
  • A radar chart (or "spider chart") is a two-dimensional chart of three or more quantitative variables represented on axes starting from the same point.
  • A ternary plot is a barycentric plot on three variables which sum to a constant..
  • A waterfall chart also known as a "Walk" chart, is a special type of floating-column chart.

Field-specific charts

Some types of charts have specific uses in a certain field
  • Stock market prices are often depicted with a open-high-low-close chart with a traditional bar chart of volume at the bottom.
    • Candlestick charts are another type of bar chart used to describe price movements of an equity over time.
    • A Kagi chart is a time-independent stock tracking chart that attempts to minimise noise.
    • Alternatively, where less detail is required and chart size is paramount, a Sparkline may be used.
  • Interest rates, temperatures, etc., at the close of the period are plotted with a line chart.
  • Scatter charts plot readings of two variables simultaneously as dots between the X-axis and the Y-axis, such as for price and earnings.
  • Marketers use a lift chart to highlight performance.
  • Project planners use a Gantt chart to show the timing of tasks as they occur over time.
  • A phase diagram denotes the equilibrium conditions between thermodynamically-distinct phases.

Well-known (named) charts

Some specific charts have become well known by effectively explaining a phenomenon or idea.

See also

chart in Danish: Graf
chart in German: Diagramm
chart in Spanish: Diagrama
chart in French: Diagramme
chart in Polish: Wykres
chart in Portuguese: Gráfico
chart in Simple English: Chart
chart in Swedish: Graf

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Lambert conformal projection, Mercator projection, Miller projection, adjust, aeronautical chart, alphabet, arrange, art, astronomical chart, atlas, azimuthal equidistant projection, azimuthal projection, blueprint, brouillon, card index, cartographer, cartography, cartoon, cast, catalog, catalogue raisonne, catch a likeness, celestial chart, celestial globe, character, charactering, characterization, characterize, choreography, chorographer, chorography, climatic chart, codify, conic projection, contents, contour line, contour map, conventional representation, coordinate, copy, cylindrical projection, dance notation, delineate, delineation, demonstration, dense, depict, depiction, depictment, design, diagram, dope out, draft, drama, draw, drawing, ebauche, elevation, esquisse, exemplification, figuration, figure, fix, general reference map, globe, gnomonic projection, graph, graphic scale, grid line, ground plan, hachure, harmonize, heliographic chart, hieroglyphic, hit off, house plan, hydrographic chart, ichnography, iconography, ideogram, illustration, imagery, imaging, index, isoline, latitude, lay off, lay out, layer tint, legend, letter, limn, limning, logogram, logograph, longitude, map, map maker, map out, map projection, mapper, mark off, mark out, meridian, methodize, musical notation, normalize, notate, notation, organize, outline, paint, parallel, pattern, photogrammetrist, photogrammetry, photomap, phototopography, physical map, pictogram, picture, picturization, picturize, plan, plat, plot, plot out, political map, polyconic projection, portraiture, portray, portrayal, prefigurement, presentment, print, printing, profile, project, projection, rationalize, realization, register, regularize, regulate, relief map, render, rendering, rendition, represent, representation, representative fraction, road map, rough, routinize, rub, scale, schema, schematize, scheme, score, script, set out, settle, sinusoidal projection, skeleton, sketch, sketch out, special map, standardize, syllabary, symbol, symbolize, synchronize, systematize, tablature, table, table of contents, tabulation, take a rubbing, terrain map, terrestrial globe, thematic map, thumb index, topographer, topographic chart, topography, trace, trace out, trace over, transportation map, tune, tune up, weather chart, weather map, working drawing, write, writing
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