Definition of cartoon in English:


Syllabification: car·toon
Pronunciation: /kärˈto͞on


1A simple drawing showing the features of its subjects in a humorously exaggerated way, especially a satirical one in a newspaper or magazine.
More example sentences
  • He also turned to satirical cartoons and illustrations for newspapers and magazines.
  • There were press attacks and vicious satirical cartoons featuring Queen Victoria throughout the middle of the 19th century.
  • It's an addition to the Comics page, devoted not to an artist, or a strip, or a subject, but just to a year: the newspaper cartoons of 1907.
1.1A comic strip.
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  • Other rooms have editorial and panel cartoons, comic strips, texts for studio photo books, and many public addresses and lectures.
  • But I moved from the realm of cartoons and comic strips to really studying a lot more expressive art.
  • However, cartoons and comic strips have been straitjacketed into either mythology, fables or other books brought out only for popular consumption.
1.2A simplified or exaggerated version or interpretation of something: this movie is a cartoon of rural life in America [as modifier]: Dolores becomes a cartoon housewife, reading glossy magazines in a bathrobe
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  • He can be viewed as the representative of this cartoon version of the public.
  • We now know it will sacrifice talent and demolish the dignity of a loyal employee for a cartoon version of moral purity.
  • Theirs is a cartoon version of the conflict.
2A motion picture using animation techniques to photograph a sequence of drawings rather than real people or objects.
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  • Side views are nullified as the cartoon insistently animates its characters from the front.
  • Many of us have grown up with Disney cartoons and animated films and for some, they were the only kind of entertainment allowed by parents.
  • His initial background as a filmmaker was in cartoons and animation film, and it shows.
animated film, animation
informal toon
3A full-size drawing made by an artist as a preliminary design for a painting or other work of art.
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  • His stylish and decorative mythological paintings, tapestry cartoons, and designs for porcelain provided the setting for the lives of the rich and fashionable.
  • The first of its kind in the region, the studio offers a range of artistic services including graphic design, cartoons, murals, logos and illustrations.
  • He also produced tapestry cartoons and designs for theatrical sets and costumes.


[with object] Back to top  
Make a drawing of (someone) in a simplified or exaggerated way: she has a face with enough character to be cartooned
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  • The burgled British householder used to be caricatured coming down his stairway with poker in hand, while the burglar was cartooned as holding nothing more than a jemmy.
  • So I spent an hour or two cartooning it out, and Playboy ran it as-is.
  • Kudelka has been cartooning for The Australian since 1998 and for The Hobart Mercury since 1993.


late 16th century (sense 3 of the noun): from Italian cartone, from carta, from Latin carta, charta (see card1). sense 1 of the noun dates from the mid 19th century.



More example sentences
  • Her nails are painted a cartoonish shade of blue.
  • A cartoonish moose against a mountain range is the winning design for the 2004 Canada Day Coin.
  • Readers have different thresholds for the cartoonish.


More example sentences
  • Instead they remained entertained by one of the cartoonists quickly producing caricatures for them on a handy sketching pad.
  • Over the decades, many artists and cartoonists have created wicked caricatures of the smug and powerful.
  • The competition is open to all amateur artists, designers, cartoonists, doodlers and caricaturists.


More example sentences
  • ‘Colin does works that are figures of speech depicted in an absurd and cartoony way,’ Maclean explains.
  • His easy, almost cartoony style leads the reader in effortlessly, every page an open, friendly environment that you instinctively find your way around.
  • Meanwhile, Mabire draws busy cartoony pictures with lots of detail (look for the comical rats).

Definition of cartoon in: