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

Other Words from puppet

puppetlike \ ˈpə-​pət-​ˌlīk How to pronounce puppet (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for puppet


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Bread and Puppet formed in the early 1960s in the Lower East of New York City, performing socially relevant puppet shows about poverty, tenement living and anti-war protests. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 19 Apr. 2022 Hear great stories, watch puppet shows, sing songs, do zany dances and more. Amanda Kondolojy, Orlando Sentinel, 15 Apr. 2022 Take, for instance, the phenomenon of parasitic puppet mastery that occurs in many species. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 28 Apr. 2022 Bellucci’s Davana Sealman, the mogul in question, pulls many puppet strings in the city, a power that her hedonistic son (Josh Taylor) depends on. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Apr. 2022 Ukraine is an independent country, not a Soviet puppet state. al, 26 Apr. 2022 In a country that for four wartime years lived under the racist Nazi-puppet Vichy government, no xenophobic, nationalist leader would be allowed into the political mainstream, let alone be able to claim the highest office in the land. New York Times, 23 Apr. 2022 Another, from a Chinese diplomat in St. Petersburg, Russia, showed an arm with a stars-and-stripes sleeve stuffed up the back of a European Union puppet brandishing a spear. New York Times, 11 Apr. 2022 Hiran Abeysekera was named the best actor in a play as title character Pi, while — in a first — the supporting actor prize went to seven performers who collectively play the show’s puppet tiger. Jill Lawless, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Stimulate young minds with these best toys for babies.

Learn More About puppet

Dictionary Entries Near puppet




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for puppet

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Puppet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puppet. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for puppet


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

More from Merriam-Webster on puppet

Nglish: Translation of puppet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puppet for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!