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


action figure, doll, dolly, poppet [Midland]

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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

GTaliban leaders regard the Afghan government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, as Washington’s puppet. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: 3 questions about an Afghanistan peace deal," 8 Sep. 2019 Another way Universal thought big for this house: a puppet in the climactic scene that’s the biggest in HHN history. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights: Opening night premieres more ‘Stranger Things,’ 2 new shows, crowd of costumes," 7 Sep. 2019 Well, his parents are conceptual designer Brian Froud and designer and puppet builder Wendy Froud, Henson regulars who worked on both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, which explains Toby’s presence in the latter movie. Clark Collis, EW.com, "How the baby from Labyrinth grew up to become a key artist on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance," 5 Sep. 2019 China’s Hong Kong puppet regime, albeit bankrupt of any legitimacy, is still unwilling to cede power to the people. Joshua Wong, Quartz, "How to fight for democracy when the government keeps throwing you in jail," 3 Sep. 2019 Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com There were to be jugglers, stilt walkers and puppets of giant butterflies, all marching down Maple Avenue in South Plainfield, N.J., in the town’s 62nd annual Labor Day parade. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "A Summer Rite Canceled by a New Reality: Fear," 2 Sep. 2019 Later in the month the Children’s Corner activities include making a pine cone bird feeder on Sept. 14, storytelling with puppets on Sept. 21 and painting candles on Sept. 28. courant.com, "Quick Dip: Shake, rattle and roll around town," 24 Aug. 2019 The Afghan government, which the Taliban has called an American puppet, has been excluded from the talks. David Zucchino, BostonGlobe.com, "Taliban attack 2d Afghan city in 2 days as peace deal nears," 1 Sep. 2019 During a San Diego Comic-Con panel, the cast spoke of how the producers, wrangled by lead EP Jane Tranter, crafted puppets to stand in for daemons on set to help the actors form stronger relationships. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Meet the daemons: HBO's His Dark Materials reveals voice cast," 30 Aug. 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.

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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

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for puppet

The first known use of puppet was in 1538

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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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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).


to make a temporary encampment

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