animation. (noun)

  1. the act of animating; the state of being animate or animated
  2. an animated cartoon
  3. the preparation of animated cartoons

Derived from the Latin animō (to animate, to give life to)

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary[1]

From the zoetrope to hand-drawn films, animation has gone a long way from where it had once begun. Before the invention of film, evidence of the depiction of figures in motion existed as far back as the Paleolithic era. In more modern times, numerous devices which successfully displayed animated images were introduced well before the advent of the motion picture. The majority of these devices could only be viewed by a single person at a time, and for this reason they were considered novelties rather than being a foundation for a large-scale entertainment industry.[2] Changing technologies have made animated films on a larger scale more feasible in our current age; however, many of these devices utilized the basic principals of animation that are still in place today.