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

Next up in this wonderful embarrassment of Trekness: a funny cartoon. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Star Trek's New Animated Series Is Called "Lower Deck"," 25 Oct. 2018 On Twitter, Meghan shared a political cartoon by Steve Benson of The Arizona Republic. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "Meghan McCain Reveals When She Will Return to ‘The View’," 1 Oct. 2018 Another news outlet led the paper with a cartoon, appreciating all the team gave to the country. Nihal Kolur,, "English Newspapers Celebrate World Cup Team After Heartbreaking Loss," 11 July 2018 Still, people are buzzing: The Simpsons which is a cartoon show that accurately and creepily predicted 9/11's awful events and Trump's presidency has predicted that Mexico and Portugal would headline the 2018 World Cup final. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "People think 'The Simpsons' already predicted the World Cup final," 27 June 2018 By Sebastian Edwards Princeton, 252 pages, $29.95 A 1934 cartoon shows President Roosevelt tinkering happily with the U.S. currency. James Grant, WSJ, "‘American Default’ Review: A New Deal for Gold," 28 May 2018 The design is intricate and playful, punctuating the pages with cartoons, mini feature boxes, and lists. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "The Newspaper That Tries to Re-create the Feeling of Walking Around New York," 17 May 2018 And his likeness has appeared in numerous cartoons, comedy shows and movies. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Orange County: Woodlawn Memorial Park’s happy little plot," 6 May 2018 This profane and violent cartoon show delights in blowing things up, from buildings to relationships to its own narrative. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Archer’," 25 Apr. 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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Statistics for cartoon

Last Updated

12 Nov 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).


by force of circumstances

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