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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Hundreds of people turned out to see balloons patterned with colorful designs, brand labels and cartoon characters. Patrick Connolly,, "Orlando Balloon Glow floats into Baldwin Park, lights up night sky," 15 Nov. 2019 Now, the electric blue hedgehog has been reimagined to look more like the traditional cartoon character — boasting larger, more animated eyes, white gloves instead of white hands, thin legs and all-around less human-like features. Georgia Slater,, "Sonic Trailer Re-Released with Redesigned Hedgehog After Human-Like Original Sparked Backlash," 12 Nov. 2019 Chloe's upcoming projects include roles in a live-action film based on the Tom & Jerry cartoon characters, and another in a horror film called Shadow in the Cloud. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Chloe Grace Moretz's Net Worth Keeps Getting Higher and Higher," 30 Oct. 2019 The Hello Kitty Cafe truck was launched five years ago at Hello Kitty Con in Southern California, in celebration of the famous cartoon character's 40th anniversary. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "The Hello Kitty Cafe truck is returning to Arizona. Here's when you can catch it," 24 Oct. 2019 Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters took to the streets Friday wearing masks of President Xi Jinping, LeBron James and various cartoon characters in a show of defiance against a government ban on face coverings. Fox News, "Hong Kong demonstrators parody Xi Jinping, LeBron James to protest government ban on masks," 19 Oct. 2019 Celebrate Thanksgiving Day with your favorite cartoon characters this year—but not before watching The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "When Will A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Be On?," 14 Oct. 2019 An earlier addition to the database was Pepe the Frog , a cartoon character that became hijacked by online extremists who superimposed the frog with Nazi symbols and other hateful imagery. NBC News, "'OK' hand gesture, 'bowlcut' added to hate symbols database," 26 Sep. 2019 Noah is also attached to the new He-Man movie, which is currently in pre-production, and the buzz cut could be in preparation for his role as the iconic cartoon character. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Noah Centineo Shaved His Head," 16 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cartoon

Time Traveler for cartoon

Time Traveler

The first known use of cartoon was in 1671

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cartoon

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cartoon.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


contradictory or incongruous words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!