"a puppet worked by strings," c. 1620, literally "little little Mary," from French marionette (16c.), diminutive of Old French mariole "figurine, idol, picture of the Virgin Mary," itself a diminutive of Marie (see Mary). For ending, see -ette.
fem. proper name, Old English Maria, Marie, name of the mother of Jesus, from Latin Maria, from Greek Mariam, Maria, from Aramaic Maryam, from Hebrew Miryam, name of the sister of Moses (Exodus xv), a word of unknown origin, said to mean literally "rebellion."
The nursery rhyme "Mary had a Little Lamb" was written early 1830 by Sarah Josepha Hale of Boston and published September 1830 in "Juvenile Miscellany," a popular magazine for children. Mary Jane is 1921 as the proprietary name of a kind of low-heeled shoe worn chiefly by young girls, 1928 as slang for marijuana.
diminutive word-forming element, from Old French -ette (fem.), used indiscriminately in Old French with masculine form -et (see -et). As a general rule, older words borrowed from French have -et in English, while ones taken in since 17c. have -ette. In use with native words since late 19c., especially among persons who coin new product names, who tend to give it a sense of "imitation, a sort of" (for example flannelette "imitation flannel of cotton," 1876; leatherette, 1855; linenette, 1894). Also in such words as lecturette (1867), sermonette, which, OED remarks, "can scarcely be said to be in good use, though often met with in newspapers."
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Definitions of marionette from WordNet
a small figure of a person operated from above with strings by a puppeteer;