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

The Joe cartoon was first tested out in September 1983, when Sunbow Productions and Marvel Productions produced an animated five-part miniseries entitled G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend," 9 Apr. 2019 The cartoon is a follow-up to the viral one Ramsey first drew for Barbara’s death in April. Tess Kornfeld, Glamour, "Jenna Bush Hager Remembers Her Grandfather, Former President George H. W. Bush, in a Touching Tribute," 1 Dec. 2018 Dragon Ball FighterZ Arc System Works; Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Switch Dragon Ball FighterZ isn't the first game to look like a living cartoon (notable examples include last year's best game mention Cuphead). Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 But instead of words, this time critics of Xi posted GIFs and images of the cartoon bear dressed in royal regalia on Weibo and WeChat. Margaret Andersen, WIRED, "How Feminists in China Are Using Emoji to Avoid Censorship," 30 Mar. 2018 The Chinese ruler has been likened to the cartoon bear in the past, with critics of Xi mocking him for having similar physical characteristics to the portly bear. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Why China Is Censoring Winnie the Pooh—And the Letter ‘N’," 1 Mar. 2018 In response Karnataka’s chief minister, Siddaramaiah, who faces a state election in two months, posted a cartoon on his Twitter account. The Economist, "All hat and cattleIndia’s BJP government looks ever more like the one it replaced," 22 Feb. 2018 There's something magical about being in control of characters and environments that are so familiar, like a Saturday morning cereal-and-cartoons session come to life. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants cartoon, passed away on Monday, November 26, at the age of 57. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, ""Spongebob Squarepants" Creator Stephen Hillenburg Has Died at 57," 27 Nov. 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

16 Apr 2019

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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 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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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).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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