car·​tog·​ra·​pher | \ kär-ˈtä-grə-fər How to pronounce cartographer (audio) \

Definition of cartographer

: one that makes maps

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Up until the 18th century, maps were often decorated with fanciful beasts and monsters, at the expense of accurate details about places. French mapmakers of the 1700s and 1800s encouraged the use of more scientific methods in the art they called "cartographie." The French word cartographie (the science of making maps), from which we get our English word "cartography," was created from "carte," meaning "map," and "-graphie," meaning "representation by." Around the same time we adopted "cartography" in the mid-19th century, we also created our word for a mapmaker, "cartographer."

Examples of cartographer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Growing up in Potomac, Md., with two older brothers, his father was a cartographer for the U.S. government’s Defense Mapping Agency and is now retired. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "The Man Behind ‘Fortnite’," 15 June 2019 The argument caused an uproar in the theoretical physics community, much as if cartographers suggested that instead of an imaginary line on their maps, Earth’s equator was actually a wall of bright red bricks. Quanta Magazine, "Black Hole Firewalls Could Be Too Tepid to Burn," 22 Aug. 2018 The first was Abraham Ortelius, the Flemish cartographer credited with inventing the modern Atlas. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Been Wrong Before: The Expanding Earth Theory," 3 Aug. 2018 With decisions made by a few Google cartographers, the identity of a city, town or neighborhood can be reshaped, illustrating the outsize influence that Silicon Valley increasingly has in the real world. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Voters snub house members looking to move up," 3 Aug. 2018 The story is about a concubine of Grenada’s royal court, Fatima, and her friend Hassan, the court’s cartographer. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "All the science fiction and fantasy books we’re looking forward to in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Blogger and cartographer Andy Woodruff decided to visualize this with a great series of maps. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Daylight saving time ends Sunday: 8 things to know about “falling back”," 2 Nov. 2018 Budding cartographers will appreciate the simple map at the book’s beginning, and playful die-cuts let kiddos peek into windows and under bridges. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 17 best kids’ books about design and cities," 12 Dec. 2018 The labels are also placed in locations that do not obstruct the features of the map itself, as if written in by a real cartographer. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Bot Creates Beautiful Maps of Fantasy Novel Worlds and Then Tweets Them Every Hour," 17 Aug. 2016

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

See More

First Known Use of cartographer

circa 1847, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cartographer

Listen to Our Podcast about cartographer

Statistics for cartographer

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cartographer

The first known use of cartographer was circa 1847

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cartographer



English Language Learners Definition of cartographer

: a person who makes maps

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cartographer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cartographer

Spanish Central: Translation of cartographer

Nglish: Translation of cartographer for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cartographer

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


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!