Handout for

Language and Popular Culture

LING 057
Spring 1997

This definition comes from the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary; I have edited it for html format.

  1. caricature

    1. ('kaerIk&schwa.,tjU&schwa.(r)), sb. [a. Fr. caricature, ad. Ital. caricatura, which it has superseded in English. The stress was, and is often still, on u, esp. in the verb and derivatives caricaturing, etc.]

      • In Art. Grotesque or ludicrous representation of persons or thing by exaggeration of their most characteristic and striking features.

      • 1827 MACAULAY Machiav., Ess. (1851) I. 50 The best portraits are perhaps those in which there is a slight mixture of caricature.

      • 1850 LEITCH tr. Muller's Anc. Art Sect.13. 4 A thorough destruction of beauty and regularity by exaggerated characterizing is caricature. 1865 WRIGHT (title), History of Caricature and Grotesque in Literature and Art.

    2. transf. of literary description, etc.

      • 1871 FREEMAN Hist. Ess. Ser. I. i. 5 Stories..which..illustrate, if only by caricature, some real feature in his character.

    3. A portrait or other artistic representation, in which the characteristic features of the original are exaggerated with ludicrous effect.

      • 1748 H. WALPOLE Let. G. Montagu 25 July, They look like caricatures done to expose them.

      • 1788 STORER in Ld. Auckland's Corr. (1861) II. 207 A pleasant caricature of Lady Archer is lately come out.

      • 1826 SYD. SMITH Wks. (1859) II. 88/1 You may draw caricatures of your intimate friends.

      • 1883 LLOYD Ebb & Flow II. 128 His marked features stood out so strongly that it made his face seem almost like a caricature of himself.

    4. transf. of literary or ideal representation.

      • 1756 Connoisseur No. 114 Their ideal caricatures have perhaps often represented me lodged at least three stories from the ground.

      • 1841-44 EMERSON Ess. Nom. & Realism Wks. (Bohn) I. 254 If you criticise a fine genius, the odds are that you are..censuring your own caricature of him.

      • 1853 MARSDEN Early Purit. 245 An early Puritan comes down to us as a distorted ca ricature, known only as misrepresented in the next century by profligate wits and unscrupulous enemies.

    5. An exaggerated or debased likeness, imitation, or copy, naturally or unintentionally ludicrous.

      • 1767 SIR T. MEREDITH in Burke's Corr. (1844) I. 129 You are a caricature of St. Thomas, not to believe, till you saw, what I could do in an election.

      • 1839 W. IRVING Wolfert's R. (1855) 166 Where they were served with a caricature of French cookery.

      • 1860 SMILES Self-Help ix. 251 The monkey, that caricature of our species.

      • attrib. 1845 DARWIN Voy. Nat. vii. (1879) 139 A caricature-likeness of the Common Swallow.

      • 1853 KANE Grinnell Exp. xl. 365 A rough caricature drawing by one of the men.

  2. Match 2: caricature see prec., v. [f. the sb. Cf. Fr. caricaturer.] trans. To represent or portray in caricature; to make a grotesque likeness of.

  3. b transf. and fig. To burlesque., last modified March 18, 1997.