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Word of the Day
Saturday, July 07, 2018

Definitions for plantigrade

  1. walking on the whole sole of the foot, as humans, and bears.
  2. a plantigrade animal.

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Citations for plantigrade
When later the old man slipped back into the night, the bear lifted itself and nosed briefly about its prison and the open gate, then walked out favoring one leg, its plantigrade shuffle derelict and comic in the darkness. Robert Herring, McCampbell's War, 1986
Cats and many other carnivores walk upright on their toes, a stance known as digitigrade, as opposed to the plantigrade stance found in humans and bears. Kevin Hansen, Bobcat: Master of Survival, 2007
Origin of plantigrade
1825-1835
The adjective plantigrade comes from the Latin noun planta “sole (of the foot)” and the verb gradī “to take steps, step, walk.” The Proto-Indo-European root ghredh- “to step, stride” is not very common, and all current English words are borrowings from Latin, e.g., gradual, grade, and verbs ending in -gress, e.g., ingress, regress, transgress. Planta, however, is another story: it shows the infix n, but its Proto-Indo-European root is the very common plat-, plet-, plot- “flat, broad.” Plat- is the source of the Lithuanian adjective platùs “wide, broad,” the all but identical Greek adjective platýs “flat, wide” (as in platypus "flatfoot"), the English adjective and noun flat, the noun flet (also flett) “dwelling, hall,” familiar to readers of Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (probably the same crowd), and flan (the Spanish custard). Plantigrade entered English in the 19th century.