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90s Slang You Should Know


[puhp-it] /ˈpʌp ɪt/
an artificial figure representing a human being or an animal, manipulated by the hand, rods, wires, etc., as on a miniature stage.
a person, group, government, etc., whose actions are prompted and controlled by another or others.
a small doll.
Machinery. poppethead.
Origin of puppet
1350-1400; earlier poppet, Middle English popet, apparently alteration of Middle Low German poppe doll < Late Latin puppa, Latin pūpa doll; see -et
Related forms
puppetlike, adjective
2. pawn, figurehead, instrument. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for puppet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A Controller never did anything directly; their dirty work was done by someone else—a puppet under their mental control.

    The Penal Cluster Ivar Jorgensen (AKA Randall Garrett)
  • I am called Pharaoh, yet am but her puppet to carry out her decrees.

    Morning Star H. Rider Haggard
  • In these latter careful etchings the power of Cruikshank to inform a puppet with life, and keep it wooden still, is conspicuous.

  • That's not the sort of puppet we want to make out of Bob, eh?

    Red Pepper Burns Grace S. Richmond
  • His body was jerking like a puppet of a marionette display, actuated by unseen strings.

    The Drunkard Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
British Dictionary definitions for puppet


  1. a small doll or figure of a person or animal moved by strings attached to its limbs or by the hand inserted in its cloth body
  2. (as modifier): a puppet theatre
  1. a person, group, state, etc, that appears independent but is in fact controlled by another
  2. (as modifier): a puppet government
Word Origin
C16 popet, perhaps from Old French poupette little doll, ultimately from Latin pūpa girl, doll
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for puppet

"doll moved by strings or wires" (later applied to puppets in glove form), 1530s, later form of Middle English popet "doll" (c.1300; cf. poppet), from Old French popette "little doll, puppet," diminutive of popee "doll, puppet" (13c., Modern French poupée), from Vulgar Latin *puppa, from Latin pupa "girl; doll" (see pupil (n.1)).

Metaphoric extension to "one whose actions are manipulated by another" first recorded 1540s (as poppet). Puppet show attested from 1650s, earlier puppet-play (1550s). Puppet government is attested from 1884 (in reference to Egypt).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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