noun, often attributive
car·​toon | \ kär-ˈtün How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \

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
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 \ kär-​ˈtü-​niŋ How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ noun
cartoonish \ kär-​ˈtü-​nish How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ adjective
cartoonishly adverb
cartoonist \ kär-​ˈtü-​nist How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ noun
cartoonlike \ kär-​ˈtün-​ˌlīk How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ adjective
cartoony \ kär-​ˈtü-​nē How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ adjective

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 What was your favorite cartoon (strip or animation) as a kid? Emma Allen, The New Yorker, "How to Draw Office Dynamics," 5 Jan. 2021 Arizona moved in several more cardboard fans for the game, including ones of Tucson singing legend Linda Ronstadt and several cartoon characters including famous felines Tony the Tiger, Tigger and Hobbes. Bruce Pascoe, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Wildcats basketball gets past Montana Grizzlies," 24 Dec. 2020 Children enthusiastically greeted people dressed as their favorite cartoon characters at South Florida Jewish institutions’ drive-thru events. Sergio Carmona,, "Characters make drive-thrus at Jewish institutions magical," 24 Dec. 2020 Every Christmas season, the Steinhauser family places holiday inflatables all over their yard, from knee-high cartoon characters to massive Santas. Carole Sharwarko,, "Frankfort family adapts inflatable display party raising money for CHARGE syndrome research," 20 Dec. 2020 Each kit includes 18 canisters of brightly colored clay that can be used for free-form sculpting or for following playful instructions from a phone app to create the cartoon characters on the package. TheWeek, "The best toys for Christmas 2020," 14 Dec. 2020 The Gentoo penguin chicks hatched on Nov. 28, each weighing 98 grams, and will soon be named for cartoon characters, according to the release. Marcy De Luna, Chron, "Galveston's Moody Gardens welcomes two Gentoo penguin chicks," 10 Dec. 2020 YouTube stars with millions of viewers are heading to the toy aisle, a place where TV cartoon characters used to rule. Star Tribune, "Holiday trends to watch: Adult Play-Doh; stores that ship," 26 Nov. 2020 The deal made the streaming service the exclusive home for classic Peanuts content, as well as new original series and specials based on Charles M. Schulz’s cartoon characters, several of which have been renewed. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, "The holidays are saved! Charlie Brown specials will air on PBS after all," 18 Nov. 2020

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 entry 1

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Time Traveler for cartoon

Time Traveler

The first known use of cartoon was in 1671

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Statistics for cartoon

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cartoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for cartoon


How to pronounce cartoon (audio)

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 How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \

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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