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A puppet is any controlled character, whether formed by a shadow, strings, by the use of a glove, by direct mechanical contrivance (for example a cable-controlled figure for film or TV) or electronic guidance (such as a radio or infra-red remote controller). The last method is also called animatronics[?]. Digital animated figures, with this description, may also be described as puppets, particularly since they are often supplanted by physical puppets for closeups. However, drawn cartoons are not puppets.

Puppets are also known as marionettes from the French medieval passion-play[?] figure attributed to Marion or the young Mary, mother of Jesus. Figures used by ventriloquists are called dummies because they do not speak.

A general distinction between a puppet and an automaton is the former is mostly operated live and the latter is mostly programmed (for example a coin-operated automata-show or piano-roll sideshow figure). The puppet can interact with other puppets, live performers, and the audience; automatons are animated props.

The use of puppets dates back thousands of years. The first may have been shadow-puppets, which are mentioned in Greek philosophy.

Famous puppets and puppet shows:

See also: puppeteer

As a figure of speech puppet also refers to a political leader installed, supported and controlled by more powerful forces, with no democratic mandate.

Likewise, puppet government or puppet regime is a derogatory term for a government in charge of a region or country, but only through being installed, supported and controlled by a more powerful government.

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