Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.
  • n. The art of creating such representations.
  • n. A grotesque imitation or misrepresentation: The trial was a caricature of justice.
  • transitive v. To represent or imitate in an exaggerated, distorted manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pictorial representation of someone in which distinguishing features are exaggerated for comic effect.
  • n. A grotesque misrepresentation.
  • v. To represent someone in an exaggerated or distorted manner.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An exaggeration, or distortion by exaggeration, of parts or characteristics, as in a picture.
  • n. A picture or other figure or description in which the peculiarities of a person or thing are so exaggerated as to appear ridiculous; a burlesque; a parody.
  • transitive v. To make or draw a caricature of; to represent with ridiculous exaggeration; to burlesque.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • pret. and pp. caricatured, ppr. caricaturing. [⟨ caricature, n.; = French caricaturer = Sp. caricaturar.] To make or draw a caricature of; represent in the manner of a caricature; burlesque.
  • n. A representation, pictorial or descriptive, in which beauties or favorable points are concealed or perverted and peculiarities or defects exaggerated, so as to make the person or thing represented ridiculous, while a general likeness is retained.
  • n. Synonyms Caricature, Burlesque, Parody, Travesty. The distinguishing mark of a caricature is that it absurdly exaggerates that which is characteristic, it may be by picture or by language. A burlesque renders its subject ludicrous by an incongruous manner of treating it, as by treating a grave subject lightly, or a light subject gravely. Burlesque may be intentional or not. A parody intentionally burlesques a literary composition, generally a poem, by imitating its form, style, or language. In a parody the characters are changed, while in a travesty they are retained, only the language being made absurd. (See travesty.) In a burlesque of a literary work the characters are generally changed into others which ludicrously suggest their originals.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. represent in or produce a caricature of
  • n. a representation of a person that is exaggerated for comic effect

Etymologies

French, from Italian caricatura, from caricare, to load, exaggerate, from Late Latin carricāre, from Latin carrus, a Gallic type of wagon.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French caricature. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • The flowers that bloom in the spring,
    Have nothing to do with the case.
    I've got to take under my wing,
    A most unattractive old thing,
    With a caricature of a face
    And that's what I mean when I say, or I sing,
    "Oh, bother the flowers that bloom in the spring."

    W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado

    August 21, 2008