Plural of Platypus – Platypuses or Platypi?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Ah, the platypus! This fascinatingly kooky creature has been the subject of scientific inquiry and admiration for decades. With its unique mix of mammalian, reptilian, and avian traits, the platypus is hands down one of a kind. But here’s a good question that might stump you. What is the plural of platypus? Platypuses? Platypi? Something else altogether? Let’s find out!

What Is a Platypus?

Plural of Platypus Platypuses or Platypi 1

Before we dive into the plural of platypus, let’s take a moment to appreciate what makes this animal so special. The platypus is known to some people as the duck-billed platypus, and it’s a semi-aquatic mammal that’s native to the country of Australia. They’re often found in the high-country island state of Australia called Tasmania.

It’s got an adorable flat, duck-like bill, webbed feet almost like an otter, and the tail of a beaver. It also lays eggs, which is actually a trait we typically find with reptiles and birds, not mammals. Mammals like us give birth to our young.

My son has been fascinated with the platypus since he was little and refused to believe it was an animal until we showed him videos. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind creature, with no other animal coming close to even being remotely like it.

Fun fact: When scientists first discovered the platypus in 1799, they documented it as a man-made abomination.

What Is the Plural of Platypus?

Now, let’s get to the topic at hand and a question where even the answer seems unreal. What is the plural of platypus?

The correct plural form of platypus is actually “platypuses.” I know it might be tempting to use “platypi” (since that’s how we pluralize most Latin-derived words in the English language), but the word “platypus” is not actually a Latin noun in origin. Nope! It actually comes from Greek roots and is a combination of the Greek words platys, which means flat, and pous, which means foot.

So, the next time you hear someone asking if it’s platypuses or platypi, you can confidently tell them that it’s platypuses if they wish to be technically correct. To someone none the wiser, though, I can see how they’d accept platypi without a second thought.

Sentence Examples Using the Plural of Platypus

Plural of Platypus Platypuses or Platypi 2

To give you a good sense of how to use “platypuses” in a sentence, here are a few examples to show you more well-rounded contexts.

  • The kids and I saw three platypuses swimming in the river this morning; it was so cool!
  • The platypuses at the zoo are the main reason we go each time; the kids just love watching them.
  • Some scientists believe platypuses might hold the key to understanding the evolution of mammals.
  • Platypuses are definitely the world’s strangest and coolest animals.

A Group of Platypuses

Platypuses vs Platypodes Ngram
Platypuses and platypodes usage trend.

So, there you have it, folks. The plural of platypus is most definitely platypuses. Yes, platypi might sound fancier, but it’s just not correct. Once upon a time, scientists wanted the plural form to be platypodes, and while some journals will accept it, you should always use the widely accepted form, which is platypuses.

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