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The Muppets are a group of puppets and costume characters, and the company created by Jim Henson. Individually, a Muppet is properly one of the puppets made by Jim Henson or his Creature Shop – though the term is often used erroneously to refer to any puppet that resembles the distinctive style of The Muppet Show and Sesame Street characters, the term is both an informal name and legal trademark linked to the characters created by The Jim Henson Company.

The word "Muppet" itself was said by Henson to have been created by combining the words "marionette" and "puppet"; however, Henson was also known to have stated that it was just something he liked the sound of, and he made up the "marionette/puppet" story while talking to a journalist because it sounded plausible.

Muppets are distinguished from ventriloquist "dummies", which are typically animated only in the head and face, in that their arms or other features are also mobile and expressive. Muppets are typically made of softer materials. They are also presented as being independent of the puppeteer, who is usually not visible, hidden behind a set or outside of the camera frame.

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