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[kar-i-kuh-cher, -choo r] /ˈkær ɪ kə tʃər, -ˌtʃʊər/
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), caricatured, caricaturing.
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 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)
1. cartoon. See burlesque. 3. travesty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for caricatures
  • These are, of course, caricatures of a complex problem that affects millions of people.
  • Public caricatures of private acts, monotonous rituals unfolding along inexorable lines.
  • Traditional sitcom characters are supposed to become caricatures of themselves.
  • Those of us unfortunate enough to be afflicted with idiocy are not grotesque caricatures or figures of fun.
  • They're basically caricatures of every cop movie ever made.
  • They are far duller folk than their caricatures and the offences they are accused of crumble on closer examination.
  • caricatures usually have some basis in truth-and these ones are no exception.
  • He got his start drawing caricatures in college and working on independent comics.
  • Each of the restaurant's walls are decorated with caricatures of celebrities who frequent the establishments.
  • The cabbies are eccentric but they are not caricatures.
British Dictionary definitions for caricatures


a pictorial, written, or acted representation of a person, which exaggerates his characteristic traits for comic effect
a ludicrously inadequate or inaccurate imitation: he is a caricature of a statesman
(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 caricatures



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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caricatures 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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