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


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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 During their first presidential debate, Trump again accused Biden of being a puppet for people on the left, like Sanders. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Bernie Sanders: President Trump saying don't be afraid of COVID-19 is 'absurd'," 5 Oct. 2020 The idea here is that a real person talks while the words come out of a Wizard of Oz-like facade with the skeleton robot acting as a frightening puppet, as shown below. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Insane Patent of the Week: This Animatronic Skeleton Interrogator from 1930," 1 Oct. 2020 Biden, who Trump tried to peg as a puppet for the Democratic Left after a hard-fought primary, defended his position within the party. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "'National embarrassment': Biden rips Trump's debate performance," 30 Sep. 2020 Traditionally, the Taliban have refused to recognize the government's legitimacy and have referred to Ghani as a puppet. Saphora Smith, NBC News, "The long road to peace: Four issues that must be resolved if Afghans have a chance for peace," 23 Sep. 2020 The accusations against him ran the gamut, from being a puppet of billionaire philanthropist George Soros to being soft on Iran and terrorism. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Trump's ex-national security adviser H.R. McMaster warns Afghan peace talks will fail, leave US vulnerable," 21 Sep. 2020 Written specifically for Zoom, the play tells the story of Nana’s impromptu puppet show. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Reporter’s Notebook: Moonlight Amphitheatre to reopen for socially distanced ‘FrightFest 2020'," 21 Sep. 2020 Tuesday night's program will include pointed attacks against Biden, whom convention speakers the night before assailed as a puppet of his party's far-left wing who would destroy the American dream. Steve Peoples, Star Tribune, "GOP convention features Melania Trump: 'Tonight is the first lady's night'," 25 Aug. 2020 The show, conceived and directed by Mara Lieberman with puppet design by James Ortiz, takes place mostly outdoors with one brief foray inside. New York Times, "7 Things to Do This Weekend," 1 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for puppet

Time Traveler

The first known use of puppet was in 1538

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Statistics for puppet

Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Puppet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puppet. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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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

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