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

Lili, 56, said in France, Crockett was very popular in cartoons and literature as an adventurer. Vincent T. Davis,, "The Alamo celebrates Davy Crockett’s 233rd birthday anniversary," 17 Aug. 2019 Dandro’s personification of himself is blank-eyed, messy-haired, Calvin-esque; and the illustrations shift between evocative abstraction, classic cartoon, and rich, realistic detail. Nina Maclaughlin,, "Growing pains, family ties, and a larger-than-life lawyer," 1 Aug. 2019 Yes, the dry land where no one is a cartoon, and where people breathe oxygen, eat fish, and hang out with David Hasselhoff — the former Baywatch actor and beloved-in-Germany pop star makes a guest appearance as himself. Allegra Frank, Vox, "SpongeBob SquarePants becomes human in his big birthday special. Almost.," 2 July 2019 This was accompanied by a cartoon of two men, one wearing overalls and toting a toolbox and the other with a suit and briefcase. Ben Zimmer, The Atlantic, "How ‘People Who Shower After Work’ Became a Political Talking Point," 31 July 2019 Fortune PBS produces the first children’s show that centers on an Alaska Native family Molly of Denali sounds like a delight, a cartoon about a 10-year-old Athabascan girl with a video blog that describes the ins-and-outs of life in rural Alaska. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Confronting Bias In A.I.: raceAhead," 16 July 2019 Inspired by the power of a charismatic cartoon, the War Advertising Council dreamed up Smokey in his ranger’s hat and dungarees. Lyndsie Bourgon, Smithsonian, "A Brief History of Smokey Bear, the Forest Service’s Legendary Mascot," 10 July 2019 The design is based on Paw Patrol, a popular cartoon featuring a group of search and rescue dogs. Leada Gore |,, "6-year old Alabama drowning victim gets Paw Patrol final resting place," 10 July 2019 Rather than watching cartoons, the family focuses on books, which is why good reads are stashed in every room. Jennifer Blaise Kramer, House Beautiful, "This Home Is the Ultimate Island Getaway, No Matter Your Age," 28 June 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

3 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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