car·​i·​ca·​ture | \ ˈker-i-kə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce caricature (audio) , -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 How to pronounce caricatural (audio) , -​ˈchər-​ , -​ˈtyu̇r-​ , -​ˈtu̇r-​ , ˌka-​ri-​ \ adjective
caricaturist \ ˈker-​i-​kə-​ˌchu̇r-​ist How to pronounce caricaturist (audio) , -​ˌchər-​ , -​ˌtyu̇r-​ , -​ˌtu̇r-​ , ˈka-​ri-​ \ noun

Synonyms for caricature

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And Smiley’s character seems to be a bit of a caricature of a mentally handicapped person. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Why ‘Do the Right Thing’ Is Still a Great Movie," 5 May 2020 Black-ish, a network TV-friendly caricature of Barris’s own life that debuted in 2014, confronts the realities of being a newly wealthy black family in upper-class white America. Shamira Ibrahim, The Atlantic, "You’ve Already Seen #BlackAF," 26 Apr. 2020 What better framing device for a racist travesty than minstrelsy, a theatrical form based on the grotesque caricature of blacks? Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "Kander and Ebb’s ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ at the Beck Center entrances as it weaves its story of savage racial injustice," 16 Feb. 2020 In a different vein, the broad satire of Alexander Payne's Citizen Ruth addresses the way women can become political footballs, and offers caricatures on both sides of the debate. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Why 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always' Is So Rare Among American Abortion Dramas," 2 Apr. 2020 Both seem odious—caricatures of virtue contorted to the buffoonish extremes of careless independence on the one hand and spineless capitulation on the other. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "When the Checkpoints Come," 19 Mar. 2020 In the downstairs bath, a Minnelli caricature smiles wide at all who enter. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "This kitschy home in Belknap pays a fun tribute to classic films, Hollywood royalty," 19 Mar. 2020 Users across these channels regularly share racist messages or caricatures of Chinese people, mocking their eating habits, accents, and hygiene. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, "The Rise of Coronavirus Hate Crimes," 17 Mar. 2020 What follows is essentially a collection of caricatures from each end of the political spectrum that would be too over-the-top for even a Saturday Night Live sketch. TheWeek, "The Hunt wasn't worth anyone's outrage," 13 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pelosi, who has served in Congress for more than three decades, has long been caricatured as a San Francisco limousine liberal with extreme views. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Pelosi’ tracks the career of a powerful, driven politician," 11 May 2020 Democrats’ efforts to caricature Mr. Trump as anti-Hispanic have had some success and the president has helped fuel the charge. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Trump’s Pitch to Puerto Rican Voters," 9 Feb. 2020 But Biden is not the across-the-board liberal hawk that he is sometimes caricatured as. Noah Millman, TheWeek, "Biden and Sanders yearn for a bygone world," 3 Mar. 2020 Too often, businesses are caricatured as rapacious predators of Earth’s bounty. The Economist, "Can business tread more lightly on the planet?," 17 Oct. 2019 The National Rifle Association caricatured Bloomberg as an octopus on the cover of its magazine in 2007. Washington Post, "Bloomberg as mayor: A New York that sparkled, and chafed," 27 Nov. 2019 The youth styles of the day were immortalized, and sometimes caricatured, in the art of illustrators like J. C. Leyendecker (of ), Ralph Barton (who illustrated Anita Loos’s book ), and John Held, Jr. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "What Fall 2020’s New Man Has In Common with the “Jellybean” of the 1920s," 21 Jan. 2020 Autism is not some monstrous fate When it isn’t being caricatured in shows largely produced by and for non-autistic people, like The Good Doctor and The Big Bang Theory, autism is often characterized as a horrible way to live. Sarah Kurchak, Vox, "Fake autism treatments show the lengths parents will go to “cure” their kids," 13 Aug. 2019 You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured, by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree. Fox News, "Graham: Democrats are trying to destroy Kavanaugh's life," 17 Sep. 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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for caricature

Time Traveler

The first known use of caricature was in 1712

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Statistics for caricature

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caricature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for caricature


How to pronounce caricature (audio)

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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