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 That kind of mentality leads to visual atrocities like a political cartoon showing GOP Sen. John McCain and Democratic Rep. John Lewis looking down on the election results from heaven in delight. Eoin Higgins, The New Republic, "The Media Is Already Rehabilitating the GOP—and Walking America Into a Trap," 11 Nov. 2020 At the very bottom is a black and white Ziggy cartoon with torn, frayed edges. Shannon Stirone, Longreads, "An Atlas of the Cosmos," 29 Oct. 2020 Prosecutors said Anzorov was angry that Paty showed his students a Mohammad cartoon. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "France faces boycott backlash after Macron defends freedom to print Mohammed cartoons," 26 Oct. 2020 And in a cartoon parallel to the Cold War arms race, Bugs’s adversaries grew increasingly powerful over the years. Will Friedwald, WSJ, "Bugs Bunny Is Still Making Mischief," 13 Oct. 2020 The Animated Series ran as a Saturday morning cartoon in 1973 and 1974; all Treks since then have been aimed more-or-less at grown-ups. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Kate Mulgrew returning as Capt. Janeway in Star Trek: Prodigy," 8 Oct. 2020 Finally, blockheads like Fred and Barney never go out of style, which is not so good in real life but just fine in a cartoon. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Happy Yabba Dabba Doo! 6 fun things about 'The Flintstones' on its 60th anniversary," 30 Sep. 2020 Another artist had painted the hoodoos below a steep cliff, with a skewed perspective that reminded Presley of a Road Runner cartoon. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, "How a Revered Studio for Artists with Disabilities Is Surviving at a Distance," 24 Sep. 2020 Today Friedman’s doctrine, like many relics of the 1970s, is viewed as a bit of a cartoon. Judith Samuelson, Quartz, "The ghost of Milton Friedman will haunt the markets until companies fix CEO pay," 16 Sep. 2020

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 entry 1

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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cartoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
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!