Definition of cartoon in English:



  • 1A simple drawing showing the features of its subjects in a humorously exaggerated way, especially a satirical one in a newspaper or magazine.

    • ‘Newspaper cartoons are popular and important for social critique.’
    • ‘While in Greece in 1997 I noticed a newspaper cartoon by Kosta Mitropoulou.’
    • ‘Yet in today's multimedia world, satire has entered the mainstream via theatre, television, music, newspaper cartoons, radio, and the internet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Did you look at other cartoons in the magazine for inspiration?’
    • ‘I don't even pay attention to political cartoons in newspapers.’
    • ‘The cartoon featured a confused looking gentleman looking at a billboard advertising a horror film.’
    • ‘There were press attacks and vicious satirical cartoons featuring Queen Victoria throughout the middle of the 19th century.’
    • ‘When one becomes the subject of cartoons, it is time to go.’
    • ‘He also turned to satirical cartoons and illustrations for newspapers and magazines.’
    • ‘A cartoon in an Indonesian newspaper summed up what words and pictures struggled to convey.’
    • ‘John Bull And Patriotism is the first in a series of six exhibitions featuring cartoons by James Gilray.’
    • ‘Each week we will feature one of her cartoons, which provide amusing insights into Southampton's rich past.’
    • ‘Encouraged by his comrades' response to his drawings, he eventually sent one of his cartoons to the Bystander magazine, and a legend was born.’
    • ‘Mauldin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1945, and the United Features Syndicate distributed his cartoons to hundreds of newspapers.’
    • ‘He started trying to draw cartoons again, satirical sketches of popular figures (a talent which he'd had since a boy).’
    • ‘Knight began sending his cartoons out to local newspapers and magazines, then to publications across the country.’
    • ‘As a child Cullen drew cartoons for the local newspaper, but since then he's painted everything from criminals to the devil.’
    • ‘The books - Europe since Versailles and Europe at War - date back to 1940 and 1941 and feature political cartoons by Sir David Low.’
    • ‘Disillusioned with the politics and antics of politicians, Vijayan ventured into dark corners of history to find subjects for his cartoons.’
    caricature, parody, lampoon, satire, travesty
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    1. 1.1A comic strip.
      • ‘But I moved from the realm of cartoons and comic strips to really studying a lot more expressive art.’
      • ‘Chris Muir's newest Day by Day cartoon says it all.’
      • ‘Other rooms have editorial and panel cartoons, comic strips, texts for studio photo books, and many public addresses and lectures.’
      • ‘In one cartoon, Goofy stays home with the kid and tries to run the household - with hilarious results!’
      • ‘Thanks to Brad for sending this Day by Day cartoon along.’
      • ‘Think of the old Far Side cartoon with a dog listening to his master.’
      • ‘This image is from Cox and Forkum's cartoon from yesterday.’
      • ‘But today my paper ran this cartoon, which I found… instructive.’
      • ‘Don't miss today's Day by Day cartoon from Chris Muir.’
      • ‘An earlier post mentioned this long-lost cartoon from the pre-internet days, and Mudville readers were quick to respond to my request for a copy.’
      • ‘However, cartoons and comic strips have been straitjacketed into either mythology, fables or other books brought out only for popular consumption.’
      • ‘Four years later, Bill joined the Chicago Sun-Times and drew the most famous cartoon of the 1960s.’
      • ‘As you can see, her column this week has been replaced by a cuddly little cartoon: funny but not too highbrow.’
      • ‘But Roy would take a single frame from a cartoon or comic strip and turn it into an entire painting.’
      • ‘Ostriches, of course, do not bury their heads in the sand except in cartoons and comic strips.’
      comic strip, cartoon strip, comic, graphic novel
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    2. 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’
      • ‘We now know it will sacrifice talent and demolish the dignity of a loyal employee for a cartoon version of moral purity.’
      • ‘He is like a cartoon stereotype representing the worst side of the political culture.’
      • ‘His first hurdle as chairman will be to erase the cartoon image of him that is seared into the minds of most of the population.’
      • ‘Theirs is a cartoon version of the conflict.’
      • ‘It's so busy attempting to draw comparisons to male stereotypes that it can hardly avoid making its female characters into cartoons as well.’
      • ‘I feel I've only met the cartoon version and it must be hard being the person, always misunderstood.’
      • ‘He isn't really so much a provocateur as he is a sort of freelance imbecile, a flesh and blood cartoon.’
      • ‘He can be viewed as the representative of this cartoon version of the public.’
      • ‘I know my opponent would like to run against a mythical, big spending, government candidate, a cartoon image from campaigns past.’
      • ‘We're often reduced to cartoon versions of ourselves, but that's inevitable.’
      • ‘My own dysfunctional family were out, so I had to replace them with a cartoon version.’
      • ‘The cartoon version of relativism he is describing does not pervade society, because it does not exist at all.’
      • ‘All in all, his relentless focus on the last several years produces a cartoon version of Lubavitcher history.’
  • 2A motion picture using animation techniques to photograph a sequence of drawings rather than real people or objects.

    • ‘From the golden age came many cartoons with characters that were based on comic strips.’
    • ‘Up until 1950s, the Walt Disney Company was known primarily for its animated movies and short cartoons.’
    • ‘With the exception of cartoons, film has simply never distinguished between the childish and the adult.’
    • ‘You would think nothing of it if the film were a cartoon - but seeing the same sequences performed by live actors?’
    • ‘The series pairs films by the same director and features other material relative to the era of the films, such as newsreels and cartoons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course, we've realised that the only movies we've been to see since Rebecca's birth have been cartoons or animated films of some sort.’
    • ‘Plus marks go to the superbly clever animated opening credits, recalling the Pink Panther cartoons and giving a real flavour of the Sixties, in which the film is mostly set.’
    • ‘Side views are nullified as the cartoon insistently animates its characters from the front.’
    • ‘Twelve cartoon or animated short features make up this disc, so I'll give a short description of what to expect.’
    • ‘It was fun to compare the still drawings to the finished cartoon, and it gives one a feel for how animators and writers rough-sketch their ideas.’
    • ‘The film plays like a live-action cartoon, with deliberately flat backdrops, oversized props, and campy, exaggerated action.’
    • ‘Uninhibited characterizations dominated the American animated cartoons of World War II.’
    • ‘Way back when, theaters used to show cartoons, newsreels, and short films before you'd see the main attraction.’
    • ‘His initial background as a filmmaker was in cartoons and animation film, and it shows.’
    • ‘He ranked among Hollywood's greatest film animators and his achievements in the world of film cartoons was often compared to those of Walt Disney, who created Mickey Mouse.’
    • ‘Some of the reused footage from the old cartoons appears grainy or scratched, but one commentary track reveals that they were actually digitally treated to look older.’
    • ‘The movie looks pretty cool, a mix of 20s and 30s Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons.’
    • ‘Watching the Disney cartoon again proves to be a far more appealing option.’
    • ‘I would rather watch animated features made for adults than cartoons.’
    animated film, animated cartoon, animation
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  • 3A full-size drawing made by an artist as a preliminary design for a painting or other work of art.

    • ‘There were also an exhibition of paintings, collages and cartoons by the creative group.’
    • ‘At the beginning of the workshop each student prepared a cartoon (a preliminary drawing of what is going to be painted).’
    • ‘He also produced tapestry cartoons and designs for theatrical sets and costumes.’
    • ‘The creation of the tapestry cartoons, which vary in size but measure approximately eleven by sixteen feet, involved a tremendous outlay of manpower.’
    • ‘The cartoons were shipped to Peshawar, Pakistan, and woven.’
    • ‘He constantly reworked his concepts in drawings and in the final cartoons, as well as in oil studies.’
    • ‘Disgruntled and angry, Michelangelo gave the Leda and its cartoon to his pupil Antonio Mini, who took both images to France.’
    • ‘Rubens made no squared up cartoons of paintings.’
    • ‘His stylish and decorative mythological paintings, tapestry cartoons, and designs for porcelain provided the setting for the lives of the rich and fashionable.’
    • ‘Fantagraphics have announced that, finally, they're releasing a compendium of drawings, paintings and cartoons by Arnold Roth.’
    • ‘Vasari's biography confirms that Leonardo began to draw the cartoon in the Sala del Papa of the monumental Dominican building complex of Santa Maria Novella.’
    • ‘He then pricked this tracing through with a pin, following the standard workshop technique for transferring working drawings or cartoons to canvases.’
    • ‘Because his reputation as a portraitist was growing, it is not surprising that an incentive was necessary to lure him back to painting tapestry cartoons.’
    • ‘The first of its kind in the region, the studio offers a range of artistic services including graphic design, cartoons, murals, logos and illustrations.’
    • ‘The largest of all the drawings Egerton acquired were the two Carracci cartoons he gave to London's National Gallery in 1837, while he was one of its trustees.’
    • ‘The competition saw some original ideas in the form of cartoons and intricate designs woven by hands-on-hands in the ‘mehndi’ section.’
    • ‘Boucher considered these tapestry cartoons, which belonged to Mine de Pompadour and hung in her chateau at Bellevue, to be among his happiest inventions.’
    • ‘The former made cartoons for windows depicting Adam and Eve in 1865 and the latter in 1857 and 1865.’
    • ‘However, it is unquestionably by a later sixteenth-century artist, who presumably painted it after Bronzino's cartoon.’
    • ‘It may be grouped with other such pictures which we believe were executed by Bronzino on the basis of his master's drawings or cartoons.’
    sketch, rough, preliminary drawing, outline, delineation, tracing, artist's impression
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  • Make a drawing of (someone) in a simplified or exaggerated way.

    ‘she has a face with enough character to be cartooned’
    • ‘Kudelka has been cartooning for The Australian since 1998 and for The Hobart Mercury since 1993.’
    • ‘So I spent an hour or two cartooning it out, and Playboy ran it as-is.’
    • ‘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.’


Late 16th century ( cartoon): from Italian cartone, from carta, from Latin carta, charta (see card). cartoon dates from the mid 19th century.