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 undersea goofball comes to the stage in this adaptation of the Nickelodeon cartoon series. Los Angeles Times, "The Broadway musicals coming to L.A. this fall, from ‘Frozen’ to ‘SpongeBob’," 12 Sep. 2019 But in July the cartoon character inadvertently became one. The Economist, "The economic policy at the heart of Europe is creaking," 12 Sep. 2019 But choosing a backpack takes much more consideration than simply picking the one with your kid's favorite design or cartoon character. NBC News, "How to choose a backpack that won't hurt your kids back," 3 Sep. 2019 These fans — often cast (and dressed) as cartoon characters of sorts — have very real feelings and have been forced to live with the pending loss for the better part of three years. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "Broncos vs. 49ers: A roundup from Monday’s NFL preseason game," 20 Aug. 2019 Previous SlideNext Slide Of all the cartoon series produced by Nickelodeon in its decades of operation, none could have been more unlikely than Invader Zim. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus," 16 Aug. 2019 Children line up with their bicycles to wait for the players, who each pick a bike to ride into practice -- cartoon characters, colorful paint and all. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "NFL star J.J. Watt breaks a boy's bike fulfilling a childhood dream in Green Bay," 5 Aug. 2019 The young man ejected a startled yelp and began to furiously paddle his long legs in the air, like a cartoon character. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 Cuphead’s beautiful, award-winning animation is getting a new cartoon series from Netflix. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Cuphead is getting its own cartoon on Netflix," 9 July 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

17 Sep 2019

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 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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