Definition of caricature in US English:



  • 1A picture, description, or imitation of a person in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.

    ‘there are elements of caricature in the portrayal of the hero’
    ‘a caricature of Jimmy Durante’
    • ‘The element of cartoonish caricature finds its way into much of this production.’
    • ‘One of the four pictures was an old-fashioned caricature of a bomb - round and black with a burning fuse.’
    • ‘In 1803 Gillray created a prototype caricature of Napoleon which was widely copied by his competitors.’
    • ‘While there is certainly an element of caricature in Geikie's works they are never caricatures per se.’
    • ‘When Sinclair Lewis wrote Babbitt, he succeeded in creating a caricature of success typifying the mind-set of the twenties.’
    • ‘Galluccio has created some memorable caricatures, particularly among the older generation.’
    • ‘Glover, who has a penchant for playing strange individuals, uses this opportunity not to inhabit a genuine character, but to create a caricature.’
    • ‘He plays the role well without every going over the top or becoming a caricature, and is creates an extremely sympathetic character.’
    • ‘Usually I find him insufferable, but here he had a quieter, naïve quality that made him more real, rather than a caricature or mere comic foil.’
    • ‘Each of the players, including Watts, will also receive a framed picture featuring caricatures of their squad.’
    • ‘I mean look at cave art, these are all very exaggerated caricatures of bison with teeny, weeny heads, huge humps, they don't look like real bison.’
    • ‘The images are obviously caricatures rather than drawings from life, and the characters' words are likewise not to be mistaken for those of the actual historical actors.’
    • ‘The aim is to avoid the straw man fallacy - rejecting positions not on the basis of their true characteristics but on the basis of crude or otherwise erroneous caricatures of them.’
    • ‘The expressions of the actors are extremely vigorous and exaggerated - close to caricatures.’
    • ‘Moving on from his Hogarthian images of the early 1990s, the elements of caricature have disappeared, although he remains preoccupied with brutalisation.’
    • ‘Over the decades, many artists and cartoonists have created wicked caricatures of the smug and powerful.’
    • ‘Memin is a cartoon character from a decades-old and much-beloved Mexican comic book, a caricature of a young, black Mexican boy.’
    • ‘More than 800 drawings, illustrations, caricatures and paintings by Beshkov have been arranged on the first three floors of the gallery offering a glance at the life and work of this prominent Bulgarian.’
    • ‘His characteristic caricatures of women and other subjects are all woven into a tapestry of intricate design and fused colors.’
    • ‘He would sit sometimes in the woods from morning until late afternoon, scraping away at fallen branches, creating crude animal caricatures of all shapes and sizes.’
    cartoon, distorted drawing, exaggerated drawing, distortion
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    1. 1.1 A ludicrous or grotesque version of someone or something.
      ‘he looked like a caricature of his normal self’
      • ‘Has some modernist thinker sat in a college, chuckling as he invents this ludicrous caricature in order to discredit postmodernism once and for all?’
      • ‘One remarkable characteristic of this work is that the author does not reduce his subjects to ludicrous caricatures.’
      • ‘This is the Cornwall of myth, a clichéd caricature version of the county complete with exaggerated eccentrics, loony local lore and mystical happenings.’
      • ‘On stage, I am a caricature of my normal personality which probably doesn't bode well.’
      • ‘He feels compelled to present the most ludicrous caricatures of modern science.’
      • ‘‘It's just fun, almost a caricature version of rockabilly,’ adds the Gutter Demon's bassist Flipper.’


[with object]
  • Make or give a comically or grotesquely exaggerated representation of (someone or something)

    ‘he was caricatured on the cover of TV Guide’
    ‘a play that caricatures the legal profession’
    • ‘Essentially he was caricaturing the age of the machine, and the self-importance of some of the people caught up in that age - creating complex inventions that achieved absurdly simple results, while the audience looked on solemnly.’
    • ‘Never one to shy away from polemics, Gould was often criticized by other scientists for his penchant for staking debates in rather extreme terms, and sometimes caricaturing his opponents' positions.’
    • ‘He has been caricatured, as a man more interested in country and western music than opera, and it is true that he has a formidable expertise in the area of popular music.’
    • ‘Another tale has it that several co-workers are furious at my caricaturing them on one post.’
    • ‘What amazes and pleases me is that the organisation listened to this complaint in a spirit of actual intellectual engagement, rather than just ignoring or caricaturing their critics.’
    • ‘Their activities could be caricatured as ‘do-gooding’, which is irrelevant to the real business objective of making a profit.’
    • ‘By his own admission, he's been caricatured by his peers as ‘egocentric, dominating, and untalented’.’
    • ‘Many other sketches featured similar hard-men, many of them caricaturing the sort of psychopathic gangsters who would become prevalent in British films of the late 1990s.’
    • ‘The first can easily be caricatured as bull-headed aggression: the second as social work masquerading as security.’
    • ‘From 1903 Wells devoted much of his energy to the Fabian movement but after falling out with their leaders savagely caricatured them in his novel, The New Machiavelli.’
    • ‘He is frequently caricatured as a frosty pop intellectual, dry and aloof and uptight.’
    • ‘And… I think he's caricaturing the left.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had been caricatured for his right-wing geopolitical and social policies his entire career.’
    • ‘It was then that cartoonists began caricaturing him as a cockatoo.’
    • ‘An enterprise economy is not, as caricatured by statist propaganda, a devil-take-the-hindmost free-for-all.’
    • ‘Each side caricatured the other in this way - and continues to do so.’
    • ‘Her more nuanced views are frequently caricatured.’
    • ‘For too long, he was caricatured as the playboy with the pun-friendly surname, an image to which he pandered happily until he realised its downside.’
    • ‘The style and drafting of the Constitution also are unfairly caricatured.’
    parody, satirize, lampoon, mimic, ridicule, mock, make fun of, burlesque
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Mid 18th century: from French, from Italian caricatura, from caricare ‘load, exaggerate’, from Latin carricare (see charge).