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 While previous estimates suggested platypus populations had fallen by 30 percent since the 1600s, the researchers estimated that the population may have fallen by more than half. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Australia’s Droughts and Fires Present New Dangers to the Platypus," 28 Jan. 2020 And a platypus with that duck bill and beaver body is an animal unlike any other. oregonlive, "Canzano: New name for Civil War rivalry is right under Oregon and Oregon State’s nose," 27 June 2020 Abby used her imagination to turn a paper lunch bag into a platypus. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "'Sesame Street' favorites have a sunny day amid coronavirus outbreak with 'Elmo’s Playdate'," 14 Apr. 2020 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

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

15 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Platypus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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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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Spanish Central: Translation of platypus

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

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