"grotesque or ludicrous representation of persons or things by an absurd exaggeration of what is characteristic," 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 wagon or cart," from Latin carrus "two-wheeled wagon" (see car). The Italian form had been used in English from 1680s and was common 18c.
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. [Century Dictionary]