car·​i·​ca·​ture | \ˈker-i-kə-ˌchu̇r, -ˌchər, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌtu̇r, -ˈka-ri-\

Definition of caricature 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics drew a caricature of the president

2 : a representation especially in literature or art that has the qualities of caricature His performance in the film was a caricature of a hard-boiled detective.

3 : a distortion so gross as to seem like caricature The kangaroo court was a caricature of justice.


caricatured; caricaturing

Definition of caricature (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make or draw a caricature of : represent in caricature the portrait caricatured its subject The comedian caricatured the governor as a pompous know-it-all.

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Other Words from caricature


caricatural \ˌker-​i-​kə-​ˈchu̇r-​əl, -​ˈchər-​, -​ˈtyu̇r-​, -​ˈtu̇r-​, -​ˌka-​ri-​ \ adjective
caricaturist \ˈker-​i-​kə-​ˌchu̇r-​ist, -​ˌchər-​, -​ˌtyu̇r-​, -​ˌtu̇r-​, -​ˈka-​ri-​ \ noun

Synonyms for caricature

Synonyms: Noun

cartoon, farce, joke, mockery, parody, sham, travesty

Synonyms: Verb

burlesque, do, imitate, mimic, mock, parody, send up, spoof, travesty

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of caricature in a Sentence


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


The press caricatured him as clumsy and forgetful. caricatured the supervisor's distinctive walk
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Historically, white actors appeared in early Hollywood films and stage plays wearing brown or black theatrical makeup to perform as silly and exaggerated caricatures of black people. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Some White Influencers Are Being Accused of "Blackfishing," or Using Makeup to Appear Black," 16 Nov. 2018 This week, Saturday Night Live used its cold open to say goodbye to one of its best caricatures: Kate McKinnon’s elf-like Jeff Sessions. Rachel Withers, Vox, "It was a nostalgic end for Saturday Night Live’s Jeff Sessions," 11 Nov. 2018 The Malaysian artist Fahmi Reza became one of the most public figures in the fight over free speech in Malaysia when his caricature of Mr. Najib as a clown led to his being charged under a law prohibiting online content deemed offensive. Austin Ramzy, New York Times, "Hopes for New Era of Malaysian Free Speech Are High, but Pending," 18 June 2018 His Palm caricature comes from his time as a senator for the First State. Nick Vadala,, "Joe Biden now has his caricature from the Palm," 26 Apr. 2018 While some archaeologists already viewed Neanderthals as more sophisticated than their commonplace caricature, the evidence until now has been inconclusive. Ben Hirschler, Anchorage Daily News, "Oldest known cave paintings yield big surprise: Neanderthals may have been the first artists," 23 Feb. 2018 Hamming it up under a curly wig and giant prop glasses, Weaver grounds her caricature of a mother-in-law in a recognizable, lower-middle-class feistiness. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Comedy / Crime / Film / Small Screen Jack Black is a delightful singing con man in The Polka King," 23 Jan. 2018 In Arkansas, a political action committee calling itself Black Americans for the President’s Agenda released a radio ad using racist caricatures in an effort to court black voters. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The Seattle Times, "Two years and hundreds of inflammatory ads later, the G.O.P. is the party of Trump," 6 Nov. 2018 Las Vegas is no stranger to European influence, but its replicas of the Trevi Fountain, Eiffel Tower, and Rialto Bridge are more caricature than truth, more kitsch than Old World splendor. Samantha Swenson, ELLE Decor, "There's a Newcomer to The Strip: the NoMad Las Vegas," 12 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the West, Mr. Kim, 34, has often been caricatured as a chubby child toying with nuclear missiles. New York Times, "Kim Jong-un’s Image Shift: From Nuclear Madman to Skillful Leader," 6 June 2018 You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree. Fox News, "Sekulow: Kavanaugh will be a brilliant Supreme Court justice," 10 July 2018 Spicer, who was known for his combative press briefings and was caricatured on ‘‘Saturday Night Live,’’ will be a spokesman and senior adviser to the group, which works to elect candidates who support the agenda of the president. Washington Post,, "Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer to serve as spokesman for Trump-aligned super PAC," 14 June 2018 Oprah is an obvious exception to this rule, and Iyanla Vanzant’s antics on Iyanla: Fix My Life are over the top and sometimes caricatured., "Red Table Talk Is The Best Thing To Happen To Facebook," 7 June 2018 Pougetoux—who was even caricatured for a new issue of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo—has become the latest subject of France’s ongoing and intensifying battle over national identity. Karina Piser, The New Republic, "Inside France’s Growing Identity War," 29 May 2018 MacPhisto was Bono’s way of caricaturing himself, a full-of-himself rock star embodying his own cartoon image. Greg Kot,, "U2 : Beauty and bombast at United Center," 23 May 2018 Ted Kennedy has often been caricatured as a boorish drunk, but Clarke gives him an emotional depth that Kennedy’s detractors too often discount. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Eternal Return of the Kennedys," 30 Apr. 2018 To do all that would require a president to be largely hated by the Left, demonized by the media, and caricatured in popular culture — and few were willing to endure the commensurate ostracism. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "President Nobama," 16 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caricature.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of caricature


1712, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1771, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caricature


Italian caricatura, literally, act of loading, from caricare to load, from Late Latin carricare


see caricature entry 1

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for caricature

The first known use of caricature was in 1712

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More Definitions for caricature



English Language Learners Definition of caricature

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of caricature (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Comments on caricature

What made you want to look up caricature? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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