meat puppet n.

the human body; a physical human being, esp. in contrast to virtual reality or artificial intelligence

[coined by William Gibson, suggested by a (written) reference to the rock band Meat Puppets]

  • [1918 L. F. Baum Tin Woodman of Oz iii. 43 L. Frank Baum bibliography

    ‘Were the Scarecrow and I alone,’ said the Tin Woodman, ‘we would travel by night as well as by day; but with a meat person in our party, we must halt at night to permit him to rest.’]

  • 1984 W. Gibson Neuromancer 147 William Gibson bibliography

    Where’s the meat puppet?

  • 1991 R. Kadrey & L. McCaffery Cyberpunk 101 in L. McCaffery Storming the Reality Studio (1992) 25

    All those amazing chemical reactions going on inside your body right now to protect you aren’t going to mean a thing when this lumbering, gass-guzzling pile of metal plows into a Kansas cornfield at 600 mph with you strapped inside like the meat puppet you are.

  • 2003 C. Stross Curator in Asimov’s Science Fiction Dec. 116 page image Charles Stross bibliography

    Our friend here’s got a problem, no suitable downloadable body. We meat puppets are all too closely tied to our neuronal ultrastructure.

  • 2005 C. Doctorow When the Singularity is No Longer a Literary Device in Asimov’s Science Fiction June 12/2 page image Cory Doctorow bibliography

    We like to view ourselves as ambulatory brains, plugged into meat-puppets that lug our precious grey matter from place to place.

  • 2008 M. Swanwick From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled in Asimov’s Science Fiction Feb. 14 Michael Swanwick

    You must remain a meat puppet for the duration of this mission.


Research requirements

antedating 1984

Research History
Bill Mullins submitted a 1918 (bracketed) example for "meat person", from one of L. Frank Baum's "Oz" books.

Last modified 2021-05-15 20:46:52
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.