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car·​i·​ca·​ture ˈker-i-kə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce caricature (audio)
: exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics
drew a caricature of the president
: 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.
: a distortion so gross as to seem like caricature
The kangaroo court was a caricature of justice.
ˌker-i-kə-ˈchu̇r-əl How to pronounce caricature (audio)
ˈker-i-kə-ˌchu̇r-ist How to pronounce caricature (audio)


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caricatured; caricaturing

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.
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

Noun 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. Verb The press caricatured him as clumsy and forgetful. caricatured the supervisor's distinctive walk
Recent Examples on the Web
Women cast as men don’t play the role straight and, as such, appear to be caricatures that get cheap laughs but offer little reflection. Alexis Coe, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 May 2024 Created in the aftermath of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination, Saar’s doll turned the caricature of Black women as domestic servants on its head; arming her with a rifle and a hand grenade, Saar makes Aunt Jemima into a heroine, a protector, a self-emancipating revolutionary. Evan Nicole Brown, New York Times, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for caricature 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caricature.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


1712, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caricature was in 1712

Dictionary Entries Near caricature

Cite this Entry

“Caricature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
car·​i·​ca·​ture ˈkar-i-kə-ˌchu̇(ə)r How to pronounce caricature (audio)
: exaggeration of the actions, parts, or features of someone or something usually for comic or satirical effect
: something (as a drawing) produced by using caricature
: something that seems like a caricature


2 of 2 verb
caricatured; caricaturing
: to make or draw a caricature of

More from Merriam-Webster on caricature

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