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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
Enjoy live music and performers, local vendors, delicious food, live painting, tarot readings, couples caricatures, mural displays, a health and wellness corner, face painting, dance classes and a bounce house. Brittany Delay, The Mercury News, 5 Feb. 2024 In the Heat of the Night (1992-1994); a caricature of himself on episodes of Fox’s Arrested Development from 2004-13; and Combat Carl in Toy Story 4 (2019). Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Feb. 2024 Simmons directly references vintage cartoons that used racist caricatures and minstrel imagery, Sirmans said. Amanda Rosa, Miami Herald, 31 Jan. 2024 Ignoring that and the factors that drive cooperation as well as competition lead to a cardboard caricature society that is both unjust and unproductive. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, 28 Jan. 2024 Biden has been molded into a caricature of corruption but also a figure of pity, recast with each new allegation and indictment. Tribune News Service, Hartford Courant, 10 Jan. 2024 One exemplifies post-racial America—a Black professor, his white wife, and their biracial daughter—and the other is a troupe of caricatures in blackface. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 David, the straight arrow of the two, is played by Eisenberg in a baseball cap as a vintage Jesse character — earnest and uptight, with a compressed delivery that expresses his nervous nature, yet this is no millennial Woody Allen caricature. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 21 Jan. 2024 As part of having a creative ethos driven by showing character over caricature, seemingly small changes like taking Lopez from Cheyenne to Choctaw meant engaging the tribe for permission and feedback about the story. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Jan. 2024
Fearing precisely such a result, officials in Beijing have long tried to caricature Taiwan as slavishly imitating Western forms of governance. Andrew S. Erickson, Foreign Affairs, 16 Feb. 2024 Meanwhile, Zappa’s lyrics scrutinized his then-youthful fan base, caricaturing the counterculture with the cartoonish strokes of a melodic R. Crumb. Daniel Felsenthal, The Atlantic, 27 Nov. 2023 The trip was a remarkably gruelling one for any President to make, let alone an eighty-year-old often caricatured by his Republican foes as a doddering octogenarian. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 20 Oct. 2023 Too often, trust and safety teams get caricatured as partisan scolds and censors. Casey Newton, The Verge, 20 Oct. 2023 His campaign had repeatedly caricatured both nonwhites and non-Christians as threats to U.S. national security and indeed to Americans themselves. Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware, Foreign Affairs, 19 Sep. 2023 Moreover, what do the businessmen caricatured in the film think? Brooks Barnes, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2023 With no facts to support this assertion, Kenyon resorts to caricature. Olivia Gentile,, 28 July 2023 There’ll be festival fun including games, stilt walkers and caricature artists, plus food trucks and pop-up bars throughout the park. Norma Cavazos, Dallas News, 28 June 2023 See More

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 27 Feb. 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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