noun, often attributive \kär-ˈtün\

: a drawing in a newspaper or magazine intended as a humorous comment on something

: a series of drawings that tell a story

: a film or television show made by photographing a series of drawings : an animated film or television show

Full Definition of CARTOON

:  a preparatory design, drawing, or painting (as for a fresco)
a :  a drawing intended as satire, caricature, or humor <a political cartoon>
b :  comic strip
:  a ludicrously simplistic, unrealistic, or one-dimensional portrayal or version <the film's villain is an entertaining cartoon>
cartoon verb
car·toon·ing noun
car·toon·ish \-ˈtü-nish\ adjective
car·toon·ish·ly adverb
car·toon·ist \-ˈtü-nist\ noun
car·toon·like \-ˈtün-ˌlīk\ adjective
car·toony \-ˈtü-nē\ adjective

Examples of CARTOON

  1. She enjoys reading the cartoons in the Sunday paper.
  2. The kids are watching cartoons.

Origin of CARTOON

Italian cartone pasteboard, cartoon, augmentative of carta leaf of paper — more at card
First Known Use: 1671


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Originally, a full-size drawing used for transferring a design to a painting, tapestry, or other large work. Cartoons were used from the 15th century by fresco painters and stained-glass artists. In the 19th century the term acquired its popular meaning of a humorous drawing or parody. Cartoons in that sense are used today to convey political commentary, editorial opinion, and social comedy in newspapers and magazines. The greatest early figure is William Hogarth, in 18th-century Britain. In 19th-century France, Honoré Daumier introduced accompanying text that conveyed his characters' unspoken thoughts. Britain's Punch became the foremost 19th-century venue for cartoons; in the 20th century The New Yorker set the American standard. A Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning was established in 1922. See also caricature; comic strip.


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