the plural of platypus.

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as there was a bit of conjecture on the plural of platypus, from another thread, i have started this as a specific thread on it.

Okay, after the various differing thoughts on the plural of platypus, I checked a few things.

My “hard copy” Shorter Oxford actually makes no attempt to give a plural of it. Yet on the web, the Oxford goes for 'platypuses'.

The Webster - “Regardless of what any US dictionaries or other references might say, the Platypus is an Australian animal and ALL Australian references say that the plural of Platypus, is Platypi.”

I would have some doubts that ALL Aussie references are for 'platypi'. Interestingly, my spellcheck, usually such a sensitive bugger, makes no attempt to declare 'platypi' as spelt incorrectly. Or 'platypuses' for that matter.

MacQuarie gives both.

There are suggestions that it should be platypodes. However, “The Random House and American Heritage dictionaries do not accept platypodes”. Yet another thought “The Greek plural for words ending in -pus (gr. poûs) meaning "foot", such as octopus and platypus, is -podes, but this plural is rare for octopus and has never been accepted for platypus”. I have never heard of an 'octopode' but often 'octopi', which according to this, is wrong. And yet another thought - “The ending -pus is from the Greek word for foot, and in Greek the plural of pus is podes. So if you insist on using an original-language plural form it should be platypodes and octopodes. The plural form -pi is from Latin. Stick with the obvious octopuses and platypuses, I reckon.”

There is even one reference to 'platypodia' as the plural.

Another thought – “Platypi is the English common back-construction, while platypodes is astoundingly rare. You can put a prescriptive note in the =Usage notes= section (with references) saying what language authorities dictate it should be formed with Greek construction rules.”

Nowhere could I find any suggestion that the simple 'platypus' is acceptable as a plural.

My dad just called them Ornithorhynchus, which as a kid i always thought had a real musical tone to it. That was odd as he was not really a scientific person at all.

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Isn't "platypi" when there enclosed in a nice short crust and puff pastryhungry.gifbiggrin.png

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LOL. I'm glad you said it, Lisa, as I was just about to put that, and likely would have been not good on my part!

LOL. Well played, even for the easy score. LOL. lmao.gif


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The plural of Platypus is Platypuses. That's how the website of the Australian Museum spells it.

It's also spelt Platypuses in the 2001 book 'Platypus' by Ann Moyal.

Ken, I do fear by getting involved in this discussion I risk having the piss taken out of me by Rob next time I'm on the deck coverears.gif



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I always loved Robin Williams' stand up thing about them...

Thanks for the reminder of some great standup - that was clearly back when he was he was on the gear.... either that or a paddle of platypi (smartass.gif ) attacked him with their poisonous spurs

On a side note: after that video I watched the other Robin williams vid from several years ago that comes up about scottish gibberish which is 1)hilarious and 2) makes several references at the end to his friend and all around honourable good natured bloke....Lance Armstrong....hmm guess he had them fooled too

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The rule that for words ending in "us" the plural replaced the "us" with "i", refers to Latin words (with the exception of campus, virus and one or two others).

As the platypus wasn't around in roman times, it's not a Latin word and therefore not subject to this rule, but I would have said platypi!

However to throw a spanner into the mix, sheep and fish have no plural so maybe we can invent a collective noun for more than one platypus such as a shoal of fish or flock of sheep.

I suggest a "bugger of platypus" as that would be amongst the words used where a group of angry platypus to attack you with those venomous spurs on their foot :P

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I'm kind of curious about the mongoose too. Mongooses or Mongeese? I've always wanted to start a hockey team: The Fighting Mongeesesses

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