Remember the cute puppet show? Tim Bowen explains how the word 'muppet' has entered popular slang.

The Muppet Show was a puppet-based US television show that ran between 1976 and 1981. The Muppet Show became hugely popular around the world and brought fame and success to its creator, the late Jim Henson.

Henson was once asked by a journalist how he had come up with the word muppet. He replied that it was a combination of marionette and puppet. He later denied this story saying that he had only said it because it sounded plausible and that he had called his characters muppets simply because he liked the sound of the word. Other people clearly like the sound of the word too.

In British English it has come to be used as a mild term of abuse, particularly when directed against a person who has said or done something stupid or moronic, as in 'What are you talking about, you muppet?'