Platypi vs platypuses

Platypuses are small, egg-laying mammals with webbed feet, duck-like bills and tails like  beavers that live in Australia and Tasmania. The plural of platypus has been long-established in the English speaking world as platypuses. The plural form platypi is accepted by Latinists, scientists and fans of quirky words.

The platypus was scientifically described for the first time in the late eighteenth century and named after the Greek word, platupous, meaning flatfooted. Traditional names for platypuses are mallangong, tambreet, and dulaiwarrung.

Platapuses are the only venomous Australian mammals. Adult males have spurs above the heels of their hind legs from which they inject poison in their foes.


Mammals that lay eggs are called monotremes and include platypuses and echidnas, both of which live in Australia. (The Press and Sun Bulletin)

In contrast to the other gorges on our list, Carnarvon is lush and densely verdant, supporting a carpet of mosses, the world’s largest fern, waterfalls, turtles, swamp wallabies and platypuses. (The Guardian)

“Because our population is really small and vulnerable, we really can’t afford to lose any platypuses from it, particularly breeding females.” (The Herald Sun)

SCUBA diving with platypuses in a tiny creek near Mackay has been named as one of the best bucket list experiences in the country. (The Courier Mail)

Thanks to a stable of entertainment properties that now includes the Muppets, the Marvel comic book world and the Star Wars universe — not to mention the namesake Disney brand — the show floor of the expo was filled with enough bun-haired Princess Leias, lady Thors, spritely fairies, mouse-eared men and plush platypi to make the Mos Eisley Cantina feel like the slow line at the DMV by comparison. (The Los Angeles Times)

The key to spotting platypi isn’t exactly rocket science. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)

Decorated with platypi, ducks and black swans, in its own way it said: Happy birthday, Queanbeyan. (Canberra Times)

4 thoughts on “Platypi vs platypuses”

  1. a bit weak… but

    octopus → octopihippopotamus → hippopotamifocus → foci locus → loci

    But one can’t go backwards!

    pastrami ← pastramus (nope)origami ← origamus (nope)salami ← salamus (ho, ho)

    Anyway, words are fun.


    • Since this is a place where pedantry isn’t immediately run out of town on a rail, I’ll risk adding this: apparently octopi isn’t the preferred term, giving way to “octopodes”

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