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

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 face masks violated trademark protections of numerous brands, including designer consumer brands, sports teams, vehicle manufacturers, cartoon characters and others, according to a Wednesday news release from the Customs and Border Protection. Mckenna Oxenden,, "Nearly 59,000 counterfeit masks, hundreds of fake COVID-19 tests seized at Mid-Atlantic ports, including Baltimore," 7 Oct. 2020 Guston works such as Riding Around (1969) depict distorted, cartoon-like figures performing everyday activities—including riding around in cars—while wearing Ku Klux Klan robes. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Understanding the Controversy Over Postponed Exhibition Featuring KKK Imagery," 29 Sep. 2020 Brad Ford, a savvy test editor for Popular Mechanics who can fix literally anything, thinks Mishra needs a pully system, like the kind cartoon characters use to hoist a grand piano out of a window. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "No One Knows How to Remove This 700-Pound Safe from a House. What Would You Try?," 29 Sep. 2020 Huf apparel became known for irreverent T-shirts, capacious and durable pants and hoodies, and limited runs of products pegged to musical acts like Smashing Pumpkins, cartoon characters like Felix the Cat and products like Budweiser. Daniel E. Slotnik, New York Times, "Keith Hufnagel, Pro Skateboarder and Entrepreneur, Dies at 46," 26 Sep. 2020 Beginning in the late 1960s, the first generation of Black film students, studying at UCLA, became disenchanted with Blaxploitation’s one-dimensional characters and cartoon-like violence. Artel Great, The New Republic, "Black Cinema Matters," 11 Sep. 2020 The cartoon, which is expected to debut Monday, has a deaf character who uses sign language. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "Chadwick Boseman’s death is fueling important conversations about disabilities, and what’s happening on the screen and behind the scenes," 3 Sep. 2020 He was referred to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and to the exam rooms decorated with decals of cartoon characters. Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic, "In a hospital for children, a 70-year-old man gives hope for doctors and patients," 2 Sep. 2020 Her favorites are creations by PondScumCeramics, brightly colored, cartoon-like ceramic fish that are affixed to the stairwell wall. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "More than 2,000 books and local art make this Prospect townhouse an eclectic dream," 21 Aug. 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.

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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 entry 1

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Time Traveler for cartoon

Time Traveler

The first known use of cartoon was in 1671

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Statistics for cartoon

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cartoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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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

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