What’s the difference between muppets and puppets?
Muppets were envisioned as a combination of string controlled marionettes and hand controlled puppets (hence the term “muppets”.)
Nitpick: “Muppets” is properly spelled with a capital, because it is a trademark. That’s the big difference. Muppets are strictly puppets owned by Jim Henson (or whatever his successor was).
Muppets was the name coined by Jim Henson for his particular troupe of puppets, starting with Kermit the Frog on a local TV show, then later on Sesame Street and the Muppet Show (and movies). As Eutychus has indicated, it was derived from the words Marionette and Puppet.
Rats. If I hadn’t stopped to preview, I would have beat you.
According to the A&E Biography special on Sesame Street, Jim Henson picked the name Muppets because it sounded funny, not as a combination of puppet and marionette. His Time Magazine profile seems to back this up.
It goes on to give a description of Muppets. I can’t think of any that were controlled from above by strings like a marionette.
What’s a muppet? Well, it’s not quite a mop, and it’s not quite a puppet, but man…ha ha ha. So to answer your quesiton, I don’t know.