noun, often attributive
pup·​pet | \ ˈpə-pət \

Definition of puppet

1a : a small-scale figure (as of a person or animal) usually with a cloth body and hollow head that fits over and is moved by the hand
3 : one whose acts are controlled by an outside force or influence a puppet ruler

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Other Words from puppet

puppetlike \ ˈpə-​pət-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for puppet


action figure, doll, dolly, poppet [Midland]

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Examples of puppet in a Sentence

a dictator who was perceived as being an American puppet gave her a puppet with strings for a gift

Recent Examples on the Web

Getty ImagesMark Cuthbert The two left the event together hand-in-hand, likely going home to discuss how to get a baby elephant puppet for their new nursery. Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Had the Best Reaction to Prince Harry Kissing an Elephant Puppet," 19 Nov. 2018 Not only will the 14-year-old perform along with her puppets, but she'll also be joined by Kristin Chenoweth, Toby Keith, Hunter Hayes, Lindsey Stirling, and Christmas music aficionados, Pentatonix! Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'America's Got Talent' Winner Darci Lynne Farmer to Star in NBC Christmas Special," 13 Nov. 2018 Marking a departure from Ballard's early focus on string marionettes, these late-career shows combine actors with puppets of all sizes and forms, constructed from such novel materials as polyurethane foam. Courant Community, "Community News For The Windham Edition," 10 July 2018 It is modestly demarcated with a slender sign resting on a cabinet and a finger puppet of Sigmund Freud and his couch propped up against it. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "The Man Who Saw the Dangers of Cambridge Analytica Years Ago," 19 June 2018 The underlip puppet-stiff, but the hair floppy in the English style, falling almost to the intertragic notch of his ear. The Economist, "Tom Wolfe died on May 14th," 26 May 2018 Manchester residents and guests from surrounding towns all strolled Main Street, checking out eight blocks of music, crafts, art, exhibits, puppets, food, and activities for all ages. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "Imagine Main Strolls On," 26 June 2018 While the space cabaret idea is unique and a nice showcase for the University of Southern California student’s kooky costumes and puppets, the script is confusing and annoyingly meta. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego International Fringe Festival gets off to a smooth and diverse start," 25 June 2018 Scott Sauber performs feats of theatrical magic both large and small as the force behind Audrey II, giving the puppet (created by Martin Robinson) a genuine personality. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "Rivertown sets up a campy and funny 'Little Shop of Horrors'," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'puppet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of puppet

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for puppet

Middle English popet youth, doll, from Middle French poupette, diminutive of *poupe doll, from Vulgar Latin *puppa, alteration of Latin pupa

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Statistics for puppet

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for puppet

The first known use of puppet was in 1538

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More Definitions for puppet



English Language Learners Definition of puppet

: a doll that is moved by putting your hand inside it or by pulling strings or wires that are attached to it

: a person or an organization that is controlled by another person or organization


pup·​pet | \ ˈpə-pət \

Kids Definition of puppet

1 : a doll moved by hand or by strings or wires
2 : someone or something (as a government) whose acts are controlled by another

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More from Merriam-Webster on puppet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for puppet

Spanish Central: Translation of puppet

Nglish: Translation of puppet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puppet for Arabic Speakers

Comments on puppet

What made you want to look up puppet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


someone who never drinks alcohol

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