car·​tog·​ra·​pher kär-ˈtä-grə-fər How to pronounce cartographer (audio)
: one that makes maps

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 Last month, the court appointed a new cartographer, selecting David Ely from a list of names suggested by the state and plaintiffs in the case. Mike Cason |, al, 5 Sep. 2023 The court picked as its cartographer David Ely, who has served as a map-drawer and consultant for legislatures in Texas, California, Utah, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Illinois and was special master in a federal court redistricting case in Louisiana. Mike Cason |, al, 6 Sep. 2023 Responsibility for a new map now falls to a special master, Richard Allen, a longtime Alabama lawyer who has worked under several Republican attorneys general, and a cartographer, David Ely, a demographer based in California. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2023 If the court rejects the map, a special master and cartographer appointed by the court will draw a new map to be used in next year’s elections. Mike Cason |, al, 13 Aug. 2023 The court ordered Allen and a cartographer, David Ely, to begin working on a new map. Mike Cason |, al, 5 Sep. 2023 But, in 2014, a group of Greek archeologists and a cartographer launched an organization called the Dipylon Society, which aims to share these discoveries more widely. Nick Romeo, The New Yorker, 22 Aug. 2023 The courts asked lawyers for the state and for the plaintiffs to submit names of cartographers the court should consider using to draw a map, should that be necessary. Mike Cason |, al, 28 July 2023 Those adjustments - crisscrossing 14 states, eight national forests and the ancestral lands of 22 Native American tribes, most of them forcibly removed by the government in the 1800s - have left cartographers at the Park Service struggling to keep up. Lizzie Johnson and Lauren Tierney, Anchorage Daily News, 27 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1847, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cartographer was circa 1847


Dictionary Entries Near cartographer

Cite this Entry

“Cartographer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


car·​tog·​ra·​pher kär-ˈtäg-rə-fər How to pronounce cartographer (audio)
: a person who makes maps

More from Merriam-Webster on cartographer

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