August 30, 2012
- platypus (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a small water-dwelling egg-laying mammal of eastern Australia and Tasmania with a fleshy bill resembling that of a duck, webbed feet, and a broad flattened tail
- How do you use it?
- The platypus and a related animal called the echidna are the only mammals that lay eggs.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Platypus" traces to the Greek word "pous." What do you think "pous" means?You put the right foot forward if you picked B, "foot." Greek speakers combined "pous" with their word "platys" meaning "flat" to form "platypous" meaning "flat-footed." The Greek word passed into Latin and from there entered English as "platypus," the name of a very unusual animal. "Octopus" also stems from the Greek root "pous," tracing to the Greek word "oktopous" meaning "eight-footed." Some other words that stem from "pous" include the letters "pod" in them. A few of these are "podiatry," (meaning "medical care and treatment of the human foot in health and disease"), "tripod" (meaning "a three-legged stand"), and "podium" (meaning "a raised platform especially for an orchestral conductor to stand on").