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 puppet (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for puppet


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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 Two Chinese couples trained in Russian spycraft (Zhang Yi, Qin Hailu, Liu Haocun, Zhu Yawen) parachute into the puppet state of Manchukuo during the Japanese occupation of the 1930s and ’40s. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Cliff Walkers,’ a twisty spy thriller from Zhang Yimou," 29 Apr. 2021 Spencer Susser wrote and directed the short, produced by Jeff Vespa, and teamed up with puppet maker Andy Gent's Arch Model studio to bring Ralph to life. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, and More Lend Voices to Film About 'Terrible' Cosmetics Animal Testing," 7 Apr. 2021 There’s barely a story line, but really the show exists only for its procession of impressions, dad jokes (do nuns tell dad jokes?), a puppet routine and the surprisingly catchy songs, complete with crowd-pleasing kickline. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Musicals entertainingly celebrate sisterhood | Reviews," 27 Mar. 2021 Kimmel and Obama then pivoted into talking about her children’s puppet show Waffles + Mochi. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, "Michelle Obama Roasts Jimmy Kimmel Over His Obsession With Her and Barack’s Sex Life," 18 Mar. 2021 As to our puppet heroes: Waffles is the child of a Yeti and a frozen waffle, a furry thing with waffles for ears; Mochi (Russ Walko, puppeteer; Piotr Michael, voice) is a strawberry mochi ball. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Netflix’s ‘Waffles + Mochi’ proves that Michelle Obama is a kids’ TV natural," 16 Mar. 2021 Letting the puppet off its string when race talk was on the loose was the show’s big mistake. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, "The “Bachelor” Finale: Romance with a Side of Racial Faux Pas," 16 Mar. 2021 Curious puppet pals Waffles and Mochi travel the world exploring the wonders of food and culture while learning how to cook with fresh ingredients. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Everything coming and going on Netflix: Week of March 14th," 14 Mar. 2021 The Baumanns augmented their income during the Depression by creating a puppet theater, carving marionettes, sewing costumes and putting on plays in their home and in public auditoriums. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates Gustave Baumann, poet of Southwestern light and landscape," 14 Mar. 2021

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Puppet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puppet. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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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