• noun a retarded, incapacitated or grotesque person. A word usually used with none of the affection or humour that its innocent source (the American TV puppet show of the 1970s) might suggest. The term has been applied to hospital inmates, mentally deranged prisoners or simply to unattractive teenagers by their peers. According to a UK student in 2002, ‘when many muppets are gathered in one place, the expanded phrases The Muppet Show or Muppets Take Manhattan may be used’.