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  1. a puppet manipulated from above by strings attached to its jointed limbs.
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Origin of marionette

1610–20; < French marionnette, equivalent to Marion (diminutive of Marie Mary) + -ette -ette
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for marionette


  1. an articulated puppet or doll whose jointed limbs are moved by strings
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Word Origin

C17: from French, from Marion, diminutive of Marie Mary + -ette
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

Word Origin and History for marionette


puppet worked by strings, c.1620, literally "little little Mary," from French marionette (16c.), diminutive of Old French mariole "figurine, idol, picture of the Virgin Mary," diminutive of Marie (see Mary).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper