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

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 As part of the settlement, the tobacco companies agreed to tough restrictions on the use of cartoon characters, product giveaways and billboards. Washington Post, "‘Blood money’? Purdue settlement would rely on opioid sales," 17 Sep. 2019 His nickname — a derivative of his last name, combined with a likeness to the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character — came from his football days. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How a white supremacist shed hate and found redemption," 2 Sep. 2019 The suspect was Roger Rabbit (the voice of Charles Fleischer), a toon, as cartoon characters (living creatures) were known in the film’s fantasy universe. New York Times, "Richard Williams, Who Brought Roger Rabbit to Life, Dies at 86," 18 Aug. 2019 Williams was the animation director on 1988’s Roger Rabbit, and won two Academy Awards for the film — one of which was a special achievement award for directing and creating the cartoon characters. Helen Murphy,, "Richard Williams, Animator Who Created Roger Rabbit and Worked on Pink Panther, Dies at 86," 17 Aug. 2019 And so the biggest single in the Year of Woodstock belonged to cartoon characters. -- B.S. 12. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Best Songs of 1969: Staff Picks," 14 Aug. 2019 Stream full episodes of the classic caper cartoon on Boomerang. Michelle Krupa, CNN, "Start your Monday smart: Congress, Apple, 9/11, Felicity Huffman, US Open, NFL," 8 Sep. 2019 But those drawbacks are somewhat compensated for by a series of arresting set-pieces, each one taking us to a spectacular Far East location not yet visited by this kind of high-powered Hollywood cartoon. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Abominable': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 Tipirneni has also produced a series of cartoons explaining the science behind Morphic. Jonathan Saltzman,, "Executive draws on his career experience (literally, for cartoons)," 28 Aug. 2019

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

29 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for cartoon

The first known use of cartoon was in 1671

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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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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).


an agreement to stop fighting a war

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