[ kahr-toon ]
See synonyms for: cartooncartoonedcartooningcartoons on

  1. a sketch or drawing, usually humorous, as in a newspaper or periodical, symbolizing, satirizing, or caricaturing some action, subject, or person of popular interest.

  1. Fine Arts. a full-scale design for a picture, ornamental motif or pattern, or the like, to be transferred to a fresco, tapestry, etc.

  1. resembling a cartoon or caricature: The novel is full of predictable, cartoon characters, never believable as real people.

verb (used with object)
  1. to represent by a cartoon.

verb (used without object)
  1. to draw cartoons.

Origin of cartoon

First recorded in 1665–75; from Italian cartone “pasteboard, stout paper, a drawing on such paper,” equivalent to cart(a) “paper” (see carte) + -one augmentative suffix

Other words from cartoon

  • car·toon·ish, adjective
  • car·toon·ist, noun
  • un·car·tooned, adjective

Words that may be confused with cartoon

Words Nearby cartoon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cartoon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cartoon


/ (kɑːˈtuːn) /

  1. a humorous or satirical drawing, esp one in a newspaper or magazine, concerning a topical event

  2. Also called: comic strip a sequence of drawings in a newspaper, magazine, etc, relating a comic or adventurous situation

  1. a full-size preparatory sketch for a fresco, tapestry, mosaic, etc, from which the final work is traced or copied

Origin of cartoon

C17: from Italian cartone pasteboard, sketch on stiff paper; see carton

Derived forms of cartoon

  • cartoonist, noun

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