pup·​pet ˈpə-pət How to pronounce puppet (audio)
often attributive
: 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
: one whose acts are controlled by an outside force or influence
a puppet ruler
puppetlike adjective

Example Sentences

a dictator who was perceived as being an American puppet gave her a puppet with strings for a gift
Recent Examples on the Web The actors then had Donald and Goofy seemingly confront each other, as both puppets butted heads and asked who the other was — all while Hawn and Russell stayed in character. Alexis Jones, Peoplemag, 27 Apr. 2023 At almost every turn, his allies have hammered the prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, as being a puppet of Democratic forces seeking to harm Trump. Maggie Haberman, BostonGlobe.com, 1 Apr. 2023 Even members as high up as Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik spread antisemitic conspiracy theories, insinuating Bragg is a puppet of George Soros for pursuing the investigation. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 24 Mar. 2023 This year’s show has a couple of dozen titles that have players interact with dance mats, puppets, and more, but the most gleefully absurd is co-op game Haber Dasher from Erin J.K. Truesdell, a PhD candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology. K. Thor Jensen, PCMAG, 21 Mar. 2023 The puppet of my father had a tendency toward oracular pronouncements. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 6 Mar. 2023 On February 23, audiences at The Lion King at the Hollywood Pantages Theater in Los Angeles were treated to a surprise couple of understudies, as James Corden and Cruise took the stage in full Julie Taymor puppet regalia to play Timon and Pumbaa, respectively. Vulture, 24 Feb. 2023 Other educators at the school include Michael Wilson, who teaches students cultural competency through storytelling, puppets, and the arts. Stephen Underwood, Hartford Courant, 20 Feb. 2023 There will also be food trucks, crafts, Punch & Judy puppet show, juggler Tim Salisbury, Jester Randyl Lee magic show, live music and more. 4-9 p.m. Friday, 12-9 p.m. Saturday and 12-6 p.m. Sunday at Valade Park, 2670 E. Atwater in Detroit. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, 17 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'puppet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of puppet was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near puppet

Cite this Entry

“Puppet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puppet. Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


pup·​pet ˈpəp-ət How to pronounce puppet (audio)
: a doll moved by hand or by strings or wires
: a person or a government whose acts are controlled by an outside force or influence

More from Merriam-Webster on puppet

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