[kar-i-kuh-cher, -choor]


a picture, description, etc., ludicrously exaggerating the peculiarities or defects of persons or things: His caricature of the mayor in this morning's paper is the best he's ever drawn.
the art or process of producing such pictures, descriptions, etc.
any imitation or copy so distorted or inferior as to be ludicrous.

verb (used with object), car·i·ca·tured, car·i·ca·tur·ing.

to make a caricature of; represent in caricature.

Origin of caricature

1740–50; earlier caricatura < Italian, equivalent to caricat(o) loaded, i.e., distorted (past participle of caricare; see charge) + -ura -ure
Related formscar·i·ca·tur·a·ble, adjectivecar·i·ca·tur·al, adjectivecar·i·ca·tur·ist, nounself-car·i·ca·ture, nounsem·i·car·i·ca·tur·al, adjectiveun·car·i·ca·tured, adjective
Can be confusedburlesque caricature cartoon parody satire (see synonym study at burlesque)

Synonyms for caricature

Synonym study

1. See burlesque. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caricaturist

Contemporary Examples of caricaturist

  • It seems to me that Bellows was most successful when he worked basically as a caricaturist, under the influence of Daumier.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Little Island Writ Large

    Blake Gopnik

    August 6, 2012

  • According to the caricaturist, Thomas Rowlandson, chaos ensues.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Best of Brit Lit

    Peter Stothard

    August 27, 2010

  • They reveal him as a talented cartoonist and caricaturist, reminiscent of Ralph Steadman and Edward Gorey.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tim Burton's Twisted Art

    Kate Taylor

    November 19, 2009

Historical Examples of caricaturist

British Dictionary definitions for caricaturist



a pictorial, written, or acted representation of a person, which exaggerates his characteristic traits for comic effect
a ludicrously inadequate or inaccurate imitationhe is a caricature of a statesman


(tr) to represent in caricature or produce a caricature of
Derived Formscaricatural, adjectivecaricaturist, noun

Word Origin for caricature

C18: from Italian caricatura a distortion, exaggeration, from caricare to load, exaggerate; see cargo
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for caricaturist

1754, from caricature (n.) + -ist.



1749, from caricature (n.). Related: Caricatured; caricaturing.



1748 (figurative), 1750 (literal), from French caricature (18c.), from Italian caricatura "satirical picture; an exaggeration," literally "an overloading," from caricare "to load, exaggerate," from Vulgar Latin carricare "to load a car" (see charge (v.)). The Italian form had been used in English from 1680s and was common 18c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for caricaturist


In art or literature, portrayal of an individual or thing that exaggerates and distorts prominent characteristics so as to make them appear ridiculous. Caricature is commonly a medium for satire.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.