noun \ˈker-i-kə-ˌchr, -ˌchər, -ˌtyr, -ˌtr, -ˈka-ri-\

: a drawing that makes someone look funny or foolish because some part of the person's appearance is exaggerated

: someone or something that is very exaggerated in a funny or foolish way

Full Definition of CARICATURE

:  exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics
:  a representation especially in literature or art that has the qualities of caricature
:  a distortion so gross as to seem like caricature
car·i·ca·tur·al \ˌker-i-kə-ˈchr-əl, -ˈchər-, -ˈtyr-, -ˈtr-, -ˌka-ri-\ adjective
car·i·ca·tur·ist \ˈker-i-kə-ˌchr-ist, -ˌchər-, -ˌtyr-, -ˌtr-, -ˈka-ri-\ noun

Examples of CARICATURE

  1. An artist was doing caricatures in the park.
  2. His performance in the film was a caricature of a hard-boiled detective.
  3. The interview made her into a caricature of a struggling artist.


Italian caricatura, literally, act of loading, from caricare to load, from Late Latin carricare
First Known Use: 1712

Synonym Discussion of CARICATURE

caricature, burlesque, parody, travesty mean a comic or grotesque imitation. caricature implies ludicrous exaggeration of the characteristic features of a subject <caricatures of politicians in cartoons>. burlesque implies mockery especially through giving a serious or lofty subject a frivolous treatment <a nightclub burlesque of a trial in court>. parody applies especially to treatment of a trivial or ludicrous subject in the exactly imitated style of a well-known author or work <a witty parody of a popular novel>. travesty implies that the subject remains unchanged but that the style is extravagant or absurd <this production is a travesty of the opera>.

Other Literature Terms

apophasis, bathos, bildungsroman, bowdlerize, caesura, coda, doggerel, euphemism, poesy, prosody



: to do a caricature of (someone or something) : to draw or describe (someone or something) in a funny or exaggerated way


Full Definition of CARICATURE

transitive verb
:  to make or draw a caricature of :  represent in caricature <the portrait caricatured its subject>

Examples of CARICATURE

  1. The press caricatured him as clumsy and forgetful.
  2. <caricatured the supervisor's distinctive walk>

First Known Use of CARICATURE

circa 1771

Other Fine Arts Terms

Gothic, baroque, bas-relief, limn, oeuvre, pastiche, rococo, sfumato


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Comically distorted drawing or likeness intended to satirize or ridicule its subject. The word, derived from the Italian caricare (“to load or charge”), was probably coined by the Carracci family, who defended the practice as a counterpart to idealization. In the 18th century the caricature became connected with journalism and was put to virulent use by political commentators. In the 1880s photo-process engraving made it possible to produce and illustrate daily newpapers cheaply, bringing caricatures to the general public. In the 20th century caricature increasingly moved into the editorial, sports, and theatrical sections of newspapers. Important caricaturists include Jacques Callot, George Cruikshank, Honoré Daumier, Gustave Doré, and Al Hirschfeld.


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