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13 Essential Literary Terms

caricature

[kar-i-kuh-cher, -choo r] /ˈkær ɪ kə tʃər, -ˌtʃʊər/
noun
1.
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.
2.
the art or process of producing such pictures, descriptions, etc.
3.
any imitation or copy so distorted or inferior as to be ludicrous.
verb (used with object), caricatured, caricaturing.
4.
to make a caricature of; represent in caricature.
Origin
1740-1750
1740-50; earlier caricatura < Italian, equivalent to caricat(o) loaded, i.e., distorted (past participle of caricare; see charge) + -ura -ure
Related forms
caricaturable, adjective
caricatural, adjective
caricaturist, noun
self-caricature, noun
semicaricatural, adjective
uncaricatured, adjective
Can be confused
burlesque, caricature, cartoon, parody, satire (see synonym study at burlesque; see synonym study at satire)
Synonyms
1. cartoon. See burlesque. 3. travesty.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for caricature
  • The humorous characterization is joyously exaggerated into caricature,--the serious characterization into romantic unreality.
  • But the caricature of dopamine as simply the chemical of hedonism is woefully incomplete.
  • The same goes for the caricature of technology as a civic virus that breeds disaffection from politics.
  • The real animals are far more complex than the caricature.
  • Read the relevant posts and come back when you have divested yourself of such a ridiculous caricature.
  • These three witches-the only element of caricature in the movie-live on a rigidly controlled schedule.
  • It goes almost without saying that the historical reality and the political caricature do not comport with one another.
  • The caricature of the tweedy idealist has yielded to that of the number-obsessed marketer.
  • Madrigal's note erases personal, moral agency on both margins of his caricature.
  • But the hyperbole he then delves into produces only a caricature of his own position.
British Dictionary definitions for caricature

caricature

/ˈkærɪkəˌtjʊə/
noun
1.
a pictorial, written, or acted representation of a person, which exaggerates his characteristic traits for comic effect
2.
a ludicrously inadequate or inaccurate imitation: he is a caricature of a statesman
verb
3.
(transitive) to represent in caricature or produce a caricature of
Derived Forms
caricatural, adjective
caricaturist, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for caricature
n.

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.

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caricature in Culture

caricature definition


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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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