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

Synonyms for cartoon


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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 Some owners opted for cute cat names inspired by popular movies and TV shows, like Simba and Nala, while others, like Mickey, Tigger, and Garfield, took their cue from classic cartoon characters. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 13 May 2021 Medical staff checked their status regularly in the neonatal ward wallpapered with cartoon characters. NBC News, 6 May 2021 Exactly what this will look like is unclear, though Samsung has been rumored for some time to be working on – and even showed cartoon-like renderings some time ago – of a trifold phone. Dwight Silverman, Forbes, 6 Apr. 2021 In an attempt to tie Epic to unsuitable content, Richard Doren, a lawyer for Apple, brought up Peely, a cartoon banana in Fortnite that sometimes wears a tuxedo and sometimes goes nude. New York Times, 21 May 2021 Fans looking to see Batgirl on screen can peep Alicia Silverstone in the camp explosion known as Batman & Robin, or hear Briana Cuoco (Kaley’s lil sis) in HBO Max’s Harley Quinn cartoon. Bethy Squires, Vulture, 20 May 2021 Funke recalled his capers with gusto, sometimes crossing his eyes like a concussed cartoon character or miming a heart beating outside his chest. Jeff Maysh, The New Yorker, 18 May 2021 These were frustrating vistas for real estate agents eyeballing those charming hillsides and canyons with cartoon dollar signs in their eyes. Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2021 Carved into a hillside in rural Dorset in south England, the giant is an ancient cartoon character of sorts, outlined in white chalk. Washington Post, 17 May 2021

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

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cartoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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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 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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