car·​tog·​ra·​pher | \kär-ˈtä-grə-fər \

Definition of cartographer 

: one that makes maps

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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

In the 16th century, Flemish cartographer and creator of the first modern world atlas, Abraham Ortelius, theorized that natural phenomena like earthquakes and floods had torn the Americas away from Europe and Africa. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "How GPS Changed the Way We Think About Our Planet," 18 Apr. 2017 Now, experience is here and unavoidable: disease has forced me to become an explorer and a cartographer. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Inward Empire," 27 June 2018 Powell’s map, assembled under his direction by USGS cartographers, reveals the western half of America separated into watersheds, the natural land basins through which water flows. John F. Ross, Smithsonian, "The Visionary John Wesley Powell Had a Plan for Developing the West, But Nobody Listened," 3 July 2018 Eleven years later, a Corps of Topographical Engineers map had sought to add additional detail, but could only insert a tenuous dotted line that indicated some cartographer’s wild guess about the Colorado River’s course. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 That’s what drew Bolcik, a landscaper from Rockville, Md., and Davis, a Frederick cartographer, to that photo. John Kelly, Washington Post, "On this spot: Two history buffs debunk the story of a famous Civil War photo," 7 June 2018 Royal cartographer Elias was only a baby when his father and the two young heirs to the throne of St. John del Mar disappeared after an ambush at a picnic left the rest of their party dead from poisoned wine. Christine Heppermann,, "Add a little fantasy, magic to your summer reading list," 21 May 2018 Since then, National Geographic cartographers have created hundreds of supplement maps exploring the world, its people and cultures, and the natural environment. Greg Miller, National Geographic, "Explore 100 Years of National Geographic Pull-Out Maps," 15 May 2018 Most listeners know Williams as sound-cartographer of a star system considerably more bellicose, of course, and this evening did not pass without a big bang or two, ending with Star Wars excerpts. Peter Dobrin,, "Is John Williams the next Kendrik Lamar? His Philadelphia Orchestra visit made us think, why not?," 19 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of cartographer

circa 1847, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for cartographer

The first known use of cartographer was circa 1847

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English Language Learners Definition of cartographer

: a person who makes maps

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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

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to enclose within walls

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