[plat-i-puh s, -poo s]
- 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.
Origin of platypus
Also called duckbill, duckbilled platypus.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
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
Word Origin and History for platypi
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