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[plat-i-puh s, -poo s] /ˈplæt ɪ pəs, -ˌpʊs/
noun, plural platypuses, platypi
[plat-i-pahy] /ˈplæt ɪˌpaɪ/ (Show IPA)
a small, aquatic, egg-laying monotreme, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, of Australia and Tasmania, having webbed feet, a tail like that of a beaver, a sensitive bill resembling that of a duck, and, in adult males, venom-injecting spurs on the ankles of the hind limbs, used primarily for fighting with other males during the breeding season.
Also called duckbill, duckbilled platypus.
Origin of platypus
1790-1800; < New Latin < Greek platýpous flat-footed, equivalent to platy- platy- + -pous, adj. derivative of poús foot Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for platypus
Historical Examples
  • The undoubted likeness which their molar teeth show to the temporary teeth of the platypus have already been commented upon.

  • The platypus is a 'survival,' and it is likely to survive for many a generation.

    Australian Pictures Howard Willoughby
  • This information seemed to arrest the movements of the platypus; it had reached the water's edge, but it paused, and turned.

    Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel C. Pedley
  • "Now we know one another's names," said the platypus, with satisfaction.

    Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel C. Pedley
  • Then, too, it's so difficult to be polite to the platypus, because one never knows how to behave towards it.

    Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel C. Pedley
  • So far as we know at present, the platypus duck-mole, or water-mole, is the strangest of all animals.

  • Dot could not hear what the Kangaroo said, but she saw the platypus hurriedly prepare to regain the water.

    Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel C. Pedley
  • Before sleeping, the platypus curls round to keep itself warm, and brings the flattened tail over the back.

  • "There is nothing you can do," sighed the platypus, now mournful and depressed.

    Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel C. Pedley
  • The platypus is an excellent digger, and forms deep burrows or tunnels, the opening being hidden by the herbage of the bank.

British Dictionary definitions for platypus


noun (pl) -puses
Word Origin
C18: New Latin, from platy- + -pus, from Greek pous foot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for platypus

Australian duck-mole, 1799, from Modern Latin, from Greek platypous, literally "flat-footed," from platys "broad, flat" (see plaice (n.)) + pous "foot" (see foot).

Orig. the generic name, but, having already been given to a genus of beetles, it was in 1800 changed for Ornithorhyncus. [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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