platy·​pus | \ ˈpla-ti-pəs How to pronounce platypus (audio) , -ˌpu̇s How to pronounce platypus (audio) \
plural platypuses also platypi\ ˈpla-​ti-​ˌpī How to pronounce platypi (audio) , -​ˌpē \

Definition of platypus

: a small carnivorous aquatic monotreme mammal (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) of eastern Australia and Tasmania that has a fleshy bill resembling that of a duck, dense fur, webbed feet, and a broad flattened tail

called also duck-billed platypus

Illustration of platypus

Illustration of platypus

Examples of platypus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The prehistoric behemoth is from the sturgeon family and looks like a mashup of a shark and platypus. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Despite COVID-19 concerns, Indiana's Caviar King denied release from federal prison," 6 May 2020 Meanwhile, their pet platypus is a secret agent who is constantly fighting Dr. Doofenshmirtz, a villain who isn’t always great at maintaining his goal of taking over the (ambiguous) tri-state area. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "The best kids’ shows that locked-down parents can enjoy, too," 5 Apr. 2020 Australia’s platypus — a rare egg-laying mammal with fur, bills and webbed feet — must fight habitat loss, predation from invasive species (including foxes and feral dogs and cats), severe drought and now wildfires wrought by climate change. Remy Tumin, New York Times, "Iowa, State of the Union, Taylor Swift: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing," 4 Feb. 2020 Also threatened by those polluted water supplies: aquatic wildlife like the iconic platypus. National Geographic, "What is it like living alongside a volcano?," 15 Jan. 2020 The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a pair of quirky new arrivals from Australia: platypuses. USA TODAY, "A subway Thanksgiving, too-high horse, gift wrap wars: News from around our 50 states," 27 Nov. 2019 The homely sandal, beloved by gardeners and literature majors alike, has slowly been rearing its platypus bill silhouette for several years now. Vogue, "Kendall Jenner’s Birkenstocks Have Gone International," 19 Sep. 2019 Nature lovers will appreciate the kangaroo and platypus coins, while there is even a spot for the yowie, a mythical creature said to be similar to a yeti. Jack Guy, CNN, "Meat pies and didgeridoos get their own commemorative coins in Australia," 1 Oct. 2019 The platypus is part of a small group of animals called monotremes, which lay eggs and produce milk to feed their young. Maria Clark,, "Platypus milk could be a weapon to fight infection: Report," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'platypus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of platypus

1799, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for platypus

New Latin, from Greek platypous flat-footed, from platys broad, flat + pous foot — more at place, foot

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Time Traveler for platypus

Time Traveler

The first known use of platypus was in 1799

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Statistics for platypus

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Platypus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for platypus


How to pronounce platypus (audio) How to pronounce platypus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of platypus

: a small animal from Australia that has a bill like the bill of a duck, webbed feet, and a wide flat tail


platy·​pus | \ ˈpla-ti-pəs How to pronounce platypus (audio) \

Kids Definition of platypus

: a small water-dwelling mammal of Australia that lays eggs and has webbed feet, dense fur, and a bill that resembles that of a duck

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with platypus

Spanish Central: Translation of platypus

Nglish: Translation of platypus for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about platypus

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