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 cartoon (audio) \ noun
cartoonish \ kär-​ˈtü-​nish How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ adjective
cartoonishly adverb
cartoonist \ kär-​ˈtü-​nist How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ noun
cartoonlike \ kär-​ˈtün-​ˌlīk How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ adjective
cartoony \ kär-​ˈtü-​nē How to pronounce cartoon (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for cartoon


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 labels stood out too, featuring busy cartoon renderings of Wallace and Richardson battling a leopard or being pursued by a Sasquatch. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Sep. 2021 Eventually Stipp—who is 15 years old and will soon be starting his sophomore year of high school—sold his artwork, a digital illustration of a waving, astronaut-like cartoon figure, for 20ETH. Raisa Bruner, Time, 7 Sep. 2021 Others used the attachment upload feature to paste in the script from the 2007 cartoon Bee Movie or pornographic images. Julie Mazziotta,, 7 Sep. 2021 Their cartoon features are arranged in just such a way as to look cute and expressive without becoming unintentionally off-putting in the process. Reid Mccarter, Wired, 4 Sep. 2021 Lyle Vincent’s cinematography leans into the cartoon aesthetics. Amy Nicholson, Variety, 3 Sep. 2021 For a generation of young minds tuned to ABC on Saturday mornings in the '70s, the cartoon series Schoolhouse Rock was the quintessential spoonful of sugar to help the medicine of public education go down. Ron Hart, Billboard, 2 Sep. 2021 While Transformers was built from two Japanese toy lines, that of Diaclone and Microman, it was given a more coherent form when the original 1984 cartoon started airing. Ollie Barder, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 Bulgari is bringing the Disney cartoon to one of its most iconic formats—the chunky, round Gérald Genta Arena case. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 30 Aug. 2021

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

Dictionary Entries Near cartoon

carton pierre



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cartoon

Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cartoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 : comic strip
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on cartoon

Nglish: Translation of cartoon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cartoon for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cartoon


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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