noun, often attributive
car·toon | \kär-ˈtün \

Definition of cartoon 

1 : a preparatory design, drawing, or painting (as for a fresco)

2a : a drawing intended as satire, caricature, or humor a political cartoon

b : comic strip

4 : a ludicrously simplistic, unrealistic, or one-dimensional portrayal or version the film's villain is an entertaining cartoon

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Other Words from cartoon

cartoon verb
cartooning noun
cartoonish \-ˈtü-nish \ adjective
cartoonishly adverb
cartoonist \-ˈtü-nist \ noun
cartoonlike \-ˈtün-ˌlīk \ adjective
cartoony \-ˈtü-nē \ adjective

Synonyms for cartoon


delineation, drawing, sketch

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Examples of cartoon in a Sentence

She enjoys reading the cartoons in the Sunday paper. The kids are watching cartoons.

Recent Examples on the Web

Facing a skeptical Congress, Fred Rogers (a Peabody award winner) testified to save PBS, explaining how the show provided children with gentle, less violent content than the cartoons of the time. NBC News, "4 life lessons we learned from Mr. Rogers that are especially relevant today," 22 May 2018 Patrick has enjoyed a second, third, and fourth coming across social media as one of the most meme’d cartoon characters in history. Michael Andor Brodeur,, "How did Patrick Star of ‘SpongeBob’ become a meme phenomenon?," 12 July 2018 Zschaepe sets fire to their hideout in the nearby town of Zwickau and mails videos featuring a Pink Panther cartoon character to the media in which the NSU claims responsibility for the killings. Fox News, "A brief history of German neo-Nazi group NSU," 11 July 2018 Strowman is supposed to be a monster that wreaks havoc in WWE, not a cartoon character capable of superhuman feats. Justin Barrasso,, "The Week in Wrestling: AXS TV’s Mark Cuban Hopes for More Live NJPW Specials," 5 July 2018 In early July 1992, Paramount decided to drum up publicity for its PG-13 animated/live action hybrid film Cool World by placing a likeness of Kim Basinger's cartoon character on top of the iconic Hollywood sign for one week. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "When Paramount's 75-Foot Hollywood Sign Stunt Pushed Locals Too Far," 5 July 2018 Zara last year faced criticism for selling a miniskirt printed with a cartoon character that resembled Pepe the Frog, a hate symbol used by white supremacists. Abha Bhattarai,, "Why do retailers like Zara and H&M keep making headlines for offensive clothing?," 2 July 2018 From there, a basic stencil — a skyline or the outline of a cartoon character — was applied using a silk screen and then the delicate work of airbrushing and embellishing could begin., "How Brutal Cult Leader Tony Alamo Amassed A Fortune With Bedazzled Denim Jackets," 29 June 2018 Hello Kitty, the adorable pink and white cartoon character, has been a beloved figure in Japan since Yuko Shimizu created her in 1974. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Japan Takes Transportation to the Next Level With a Hello Kitty Bullet Train," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cartoon.' 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 cartoon

1671, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cartoon

Italian cartone pasteboard, cartoon, augmentative of carta leaf of paper — more at card

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Phrases Related to cartoon

strip cartoon

Statistics for cartoon

Last Updated

1 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cartoon

The first known use of cartoon was in 1671

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More Definitions for cartoon



English Language Learners Definition of cartoon

: a drawing in a newspaper or magazine intended as a humorous comment on something

: a series of drawings that tell a story

: a film or television show made by photographing a series of drawings : an animated film or television show


car·toon | \kär-ˈtün \

Kids Definition of cartoon

1 : a movie or television program made by photographing a series of drawings

2 : a drawing (as in a newspaper) making people or objects look funny or foolish

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Comments on cartoon

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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