Definition of marionette in English:



  • 1A puppet worked by strings.

    ‘the bird bobs up and down like a marionette’
    • ‘Here you get to see real marionettes and puppeteers in action.’
    • ‘Rather than cardboard cutouts, like South Park, the movie uses puppets - marionettes, actually.’
    • ‘Puppet shows using glove and hand puppets, shadow puppets, and marionettes are performed there, depicting stories from Uzbek history.’
    • ‘The tale, which is told by two puppeteers, features marionettes, hand puppets, rod puppets and mask and stilt characters.’
    • ‘In Movement of Animals Aristotle likened the body's actions to those of a marionette, in that the bones correspond to the pegs and the sinews to the strings which cause movements.’
    • ‘For clarification, Teresa was explaining to the class that they were going to be like marionettes hanging by the strings.’
    • ‘His words became little white letters on the bottom of the screen for my benefit, his mouth moving soundlessly like a marionette, a puppet with his strings drawn by the public.’
    • ‘A marionette danced on strings, a jester decking in bells and bright red and yellow.’
    • ‘Jim Henson founded his company in 1958, inventing the term ‘muppet’ as a cross between the words marionette and puppet.’
    • ‘I almost saw Don Giovanni performed by marionettes - the Czech marionette tradition is one of the best in Europe!’
    • ‘The figure dances, like a marionette whose strings are pulled by popular music; yet the figure is also flexible, suggestive perhaps of the flexibility of style itself.’
    • ‘And the motion of these characters is positively stilted and looks like marionettes on strings as they bob and nod about.’
    • ‘I chose to start with the medical exam because I wanted to show the weakness of the human body in a situation in which the body seems to be moved by strings, like a marionette.’
    • ‘Performed by a series of exquisite marionettes, it is truly magical.’
    • ‘She suddenly felt as if she were a marionette whose strings were pulled so taut that she was forced onto her toes, her head pulled back.’
    • ‘Reaching out, the fingers started waggling like a marionette having its strings being pulled.’
    • ‘For us, real marionettes, string marionettes, produced those moments of otherness, they created a spell, something very unnerving, disquieting.’
    • ‘Making the puppets so large, though, undermines the puppet actors' role; why use marionettes if they are as big as people?’
    • ‘Later, in the '90s, she visited Prague, where she met and studied with Czech puppeteers and discovered the allure of marionettes and puppet theatre.’
    • ‘Folklore also surrounds Belgium's traditional puppet theater, whose marionettes are based on characters from the tales of their particular cities.’
    marionette, glove puppet, hand puppet, finger puppet, rod puppet, shadow puppet
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person who is easily manipulated or controlled.
      ‘many officers dismissed him as the mayor's marionette’


Early 17th century: from French marionnette, from Marion, diminutive of the given name Marie.