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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from puppet

puppetlike \ ˈpə-​pət-​ˌlīk How to pronounce puppetlike (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 When the Blue Fairy grants Geppetto's wish to bring his beloved puppet to life, the new father quickly learns that being a parent is full of challenges. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Youth shows featured in Sugar Land," 23 Sep. 2019 While the mobile theater, its puppets and stories are all products of her imagination, the works of Hans Christian Andersen and architecture of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, inspired her creations. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Master puppeteer performs one-woman show at San Diego County Fair," 1 July 2019 The film scores points for both its creepy puppets and its nerve to bring Hitler into the story. Jennifer M. Wood, WIRED, "Horror for Dummies: The 9 Best Killer Doll Movies to Stream Right Now," 28 June 2019 The Germans and their Vichy puppets portrayed Dunkirk, where British forces helped evacuate over 300,000 people, not as the miracle spun by Winston Churchill that allowed Allied forces to regroup, but as a betrayal by the perfidious Brits. Sonia Purnell, Twin Cities, "Sonia Purnell: What D-Day teaches us about the difficulty – and importance – of resistance," 6 June 2019 In the beginning, Mona treated the five liars — Alison, Emily, Aria, Hanna and Spencer — like her puppets, controlling them with threats that urged them to follow her commands. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, ""Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists" Season One Successfully Smashed the Dollhouse of the Original Series and Empowered Its Leading Women," 22 May 2019 Garrison had drawn a cartoon of the Rothschild family and George Soros - wealthy Jewish philanthropists - acting as puppet masters over the U.S. government. Jeffrey Fleishman, chicagotribune.com, "Trump’s Jewish comments play on anti-Semitism in culture, film and art," 22 Aug. 2019 Garrison had drawn a cartoon of the Rothschild family and George Soros — wealthy Jewish philanthropists — acting as puppet masters over the U.S. government. Los Angeles Times, "Trump’s Jewish comments play on anti-Semitism in culture, film and art," 21 Aug. 2019 The accompanying music video features Burgess and Watts tied up to a pole, as four servants with Trump-esque blue eyes painted on their closed eyelids dance with their hands in the air as if being controlled by a puppet master. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Tituss Burgess Urges America to Face the 'Crisis' of Donald Trump in Eye-Opening '45' Music Video: Exclusive," 18 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about puppet

Statistics for puppet

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for puppet

The first known use of puppet was in 1538

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for puppet


How to pronounce puppet (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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