Definition of cartoon in English:


Line breaks: car|toon
Pronunciation: /kɑːˈtuːn


  • 1A simple drawing showing the features of its subjects in a humorously exaggerated way, especially a satirical one in a newspaper or magazine: the minister faced a welter of hostile headlines and mocking cartoons
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    • 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.
    caricature, parody, lampoon, satire, travesty; distorted/exaggerated drawing, distortion
    informal take-off, send-up, spoof
    rare pasquinade
  • 1.1 (also cartoon strip) A narrative sequence of humorous drawings in a comic, magazine, or newspaper, usually with captions: a Peanuts cartoon by Charles Schulz
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    • The scope for interesting and humorous plots for each cartoon strip seemed (at the time) to be endless.
    • A one-page cartoon strip which Lennon drew for the Daily Howl, a comic he drew while at school, was expected to fetch £13 - £20,000 but went for £53,400.
    • In the late 1980s he met the Canadian publisher of a little magazine Casual Casual, and the first Jim Bones cartoon strip appeared in print.
  • 1.2A simplified or exaggerated version or interpretation of something: [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 film using animation techniques to photograph a sequence of drawings rather than real people or objects: we watched Yogi Bear cartoons on TV [as modifier]: cartoon characters a cartoon show
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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, animated cartoon, animation; Japanese anime
  • 3A full-size drawing made by an artist as a preliminary design for a painting or other work of art: the tapestries are based on a set of cartoons commissioned by Pope Leo XI
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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.
    sketch, rough, preliminary drawing, outline, delineation, tracing, artist's impression


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Make 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.
  • 1.1 (as noun cartooning) The activity or occupation of drawing cartoons: he pursued a career in newspaper cartooning
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    • To recognise Ramamurthy's contribution to the society and the art of cartooning, the Karnataka Cartoonists Association has proposed a museum of his original cartoons.
    • Described as ‘Escher meets Charles Schulz,’ this is the first in a series that explores the nebulous connection between modern art and cartooning.
    • Those deft at collage, pencil-sketching and cartooning had a great time.



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.


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  • 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).


late 16th century (in 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.

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