English idiom: darling, loved one The word 'poppet' is used in a wide variety of ways, the most common being an application to a beloved person, most often a child. I have most frequently heard this use in the North of England and the Midlands, although I understand that it is also used in parts of East Anglia too. It is almost synonymous with 'darling' as a term of endearment, as in "isn't she a little poppet?"

As with so many English words, it stems from Latin - in this instance, a dimunutive of 'puppis' (meaning a small image or doll) or 'pupa' (a doll or girl), 'popet' being the Middle English spelling. The same root is used for 'puppet', 'poop deck' and 'puppy'.

Another interesting use which I turned up in my researches was in an occult ritual as a type of voodoo doll or effigy. A small doll image is made to represent someone or something which is the object of a spell, but is not present physically. The classic use is to curse someone by sticking pins into the image, or damaging it in some way. This use of sympathetic magic is quite common and powerful, and can bring harm of some sort, leading to illness or even death.

In Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, the discovery of a poppet with a bodkin stuck in it is used as (probably false) evidence of black magic.

A poppet may also be used in the casting of a geas or binding spell, to either prevent or force a certain course of action.


Pop"pet (?), n.


See Puppet.

2. Naut.

One of certain upright timbers on the bilge ways, used to support a vessel in launching.


3. Mach.

An upright support or guide fastened at the bottom only.

Poppet head, Puppet head. See Headstock (a).


© Webster 1913.

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