1. A small figure of a person or animal, having a cloth body and hollow head, designed to be fitted over and manipulated by the hand.
2. A figure having jointed parts animated from above by strings or wires; a marionette.
3. A toy representing a human figure; a doll.
4. One whose behavior is determined by the will of others: a political puppet.
[Middle English poppet, doll, possibly from Anglo-Norman poppe, doll; see PUPPY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.