16 julio, 2024

Where does the word cartoon come from?

The cartoon word It is used to talk about stories that use images accompanied by texts to convey ideas, that is, graphic stories. The comics are a sequence of panels (picture frames) that can contain text balloons (with the interventions of the characters), special effects signs (containing onomatopoeia, such as screams, sighs, among others) and cartouches (signs with information about the situation).

Currently, the word «comic» is common, although, at the beginning of the 19th century, these illustrated books did not exist. It was in the 1830s when cartoons began to be used to narrate stories, being The Adventures of Tintinby the Swiss Rodolph Töpffer, one of the first comics to hit the market.

In the 20th century, this new trend spread to other parts of Europe, to the United States and to Japan. Already in the twelfth century there was a kind of comic, but it was in the twentieth century when the modern comic emerged.

With this proliferation of graphic stories, the need arose to use specialized terminology to name them. Thus, they were called designed bands in French, sleeve in Japanese, fumetti in Italian, quadrinhos in portuguese, and comic either comic books (comic books) in English.

In Spanish, various terms are used: tebeos (mainly in Spain), comics (Latin America, especially in Argentina), little monkey (in Mexico), comics (Venezuela) and cómics (barbarism).

the word cartoon

The word «comic» derives from the word «history». This last term is polysemic, which means that it has several meanings. Some of the meanings of the word «history» that appear in the dictionary are:

1. Narrative of a fact, the development of an issue, an experience, etc.

2. Story of something past.

3. Fictional story or fable.

4. Tale, tangles.

The word «history» comes from the Greek historein, which means “to ask”, “to inquire”, “to question”. In turn, the Greek term historein it derivates from oistorwhich means “quality of knowing”.

In this sense, etymologically, the term means «to know or know the truth about the object of interest through questions.»

Although the original meaning of the word has changed over time, the feeling of intrigue generated by “the object of interest” remains: the story.

It is observed that the word «history» was added the suffix particle -eta, a diminutive that means «small», giving the term «comic» as its origin.

At first, «comic» was used denotatively, this means that it was used to refer to narratives that, in effect, were short, such as anecdotes.

However, over time, the term began to be used to designate graphic stories that did not necessarily have to be brief.


1. What is the meaning of the Spanish word Historieta? Retrieved from wordhippo.com.
2. Cartoon. Retrieved from oxforddictionaries.com.
3. Comics. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org.

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