noun, often attributive
pup·​pet | \ ˈpə-pət How to pronounce puppet (audio) \

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 How to pronounce puppetlike (audio) \ 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

He has been accused of being an all-powerful puppet master, a Nazi sympathizer and the person controlling the Democratic Party. Michael Kranish, chicagotribune.com, "Under attack, billionaire George Soros plans to redouble his efforts," 9 June 2018 They're framed as the quiet puppet masters of global events (permeating the highest levels of government, including MI5), and Villanelle does their work for them. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "What Luke Jennings' 'Codename Villanelle' Hints About 'Killing Eve' Season 2," 30 Jan. 2019 Berger and Henson are far from the first people to come up with the idea of making puppets say and do filthy things. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Long before The Happytime Murders, Peter Jackson’s Meet the Feebles featured perverted puppets," 24 Aug. 2018 Daniels called Davidson a puppet of Trump and Cohen. Michael Finnegan, latimes.com, "Stormy Daniels’ former attorney countersues her and Michael Avenatti for defamation," 8 June 2018 With help from the battery of outside Republican organizations, Ms. Lesko sought to polarize the district along traditional partisan lines, branding Ms. Tipirneni as a liberal and a puppet of Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Debbie Lesko Wins Arizona Special Election for Congress, Rallying G.O.P.," 24 Apr. 2018 Following Kim Jong Il's funeral, some observers predicted his son would be a weak leader, a puppet of the country's ruling class, particularly his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek. James Griffiths, CNN, "North Korea's young leader Kim Jong Un steps out onto the world stage," 28 Mar. 2018 And just in time for the film’s release, London’s the Store X and Fox Searchlight Pictures have come together to open an exhibition featuring some 17 original sets and puppets from the movie. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Peek into the dazzling sets from new Wes Anderson film ‘Isle of Dogs’," 23 Mar. 2018 In fact, there are several notable absences, including Kendall Jenner, Rob Kardashian, Kanye West, Caitlyn Jenner, and family puppet master matriarch, Kris Jenner. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Here's Why So Many Kardashians and Jenners Are Missing from the Family's Annual Christmas Card," 24 Dec. 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

17 Apr 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 How to pronounce puppet (audio) \

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).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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