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

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 Could these be the Fortunate Isles sketched by ancient Greek cartographers? National Geographic, "Try the coveted wine that made this Portuguese island famous," 10 Jan. 2020 As New York Times reporter Nate Cohn pointed out on Twitter Thursday night, most of us grew up viewing the world through a descendant of the map projection pioneered by 16th-century Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, "The acquisition of Greenland would trump the Louisiana Purchase," 16 Aug. 2019 At the brewery, Bob orders an I.P.A., and we’re joined by his cartographer buddy Ben Pease. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "A 17-Mile Hike to Unite San Francisco," 18 Nov. 2019 In addition to their intellectual history, the aesthetics of Humboldt’s maps and illustrations continue to inspire cartographers today. Greg Miller, Smithsonian, "The Pioneering Maps of Alexander von Humboldt," 16 Oct. 2019 Sofar Ocean When cartographers first started mapping the world’s oceans, sea monsters and mythical beasts inhabited the places where sailors had yet to explore. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Seagoing drones are eliminating the data gap on Earth’s last frontier," 4 Dec. 2019 For cartographers and cartophiles, Harold Fisk’s 1944 maps of the lower Mississippi River are a seminal work. National Geographic, "See the Mississippi River's hidden history, uncovered by lasers," 7 Nov. 2019 The Russians were the first to arrive on Alaska’s western rim in the 1700s, bringing cartographers and missionaries – and the smallpox that would decimate indigenous populations, including the Yup’ik Eskimos living in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "Will climate change force this Alaska village to relocate?," 1 July 2019 In the action-adventure film — which is set in the 18th century and follows the supernatural journey of a cartographer — Chan and Schwarzenegger play Master and James Hook, respectively. Claudia Harmata,, "Arnold Schwarzenegger Reunites with 'Hero' Jackie Chan as They Praise Each Other as 'Legends'," 28 Oct. 2019

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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The first known use of cartographer was circa 1847

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Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cartographer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce cartographer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cartographer

: a person who makes maps

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Spanish Central: Translation of cartographer

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