an artificial figure representing a human being or an animal, manipulated by the hand, rods, wires, etc., as on a miniature stage.Compare hand puppet, marionette.
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 formspup·pet·like, adjective

Synonyms for puppet

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for puppet

Contemporary Examples of puppet

Historical Examples of puppet

  • He might be a puppet's puppet, but he knew exactly the disposition of the strings.

  • She would be of age in a day or two, no longer the puppet of her father's will.

  • It is said in this country, yes, and in others, that the Czar is a puppet.

    The Traitors

    E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) Oppenheim

  • I myself should be a puppet, a doll, at the beck and call of a master.

    The Traitors

    E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) Oppenheim

  • "Perhaps I shall see you at your puppet show some evening," he said.

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 for puppet

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

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