A term derived from the combination of "marionette" and "puppet," a muppet is a false animal or other creature that is manipulated by a puppeteer with at least one hand inside the muppet itself. Muppets are generally distinguished from ventriloquist dummies by being made of fabric or other soft, malleable material. They are also often presented as being independant of the puppeteer, who is usually not visible.
Famous muppets include Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Oscar the Grouch. Some of the most widely known shows featuring muppets include Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. Jim Henson is particulary closely associated with the manufacture and use of muppets, and is credited with inventing the term.