Platitude – flat latitude

Platitude, a dull remark, especially if it’s said as if it were profound. If like me, you look at the word and wonder if it has anything to do with platypuses, then you’re in for a treat.

The word ‘platitude’, joined English from French, the first known record of it as ‘platitude’ was in 1812 and it had the same meaning then. It was a combination of the French ‘plat’ meaning ‘flat’ (as in plateau) and was coined to form an analogy of the word  ‘latitude’ which really extended the ‘flatness’ of the word.

The ‘plat’ in platypus, is the same ‘plat’ and is a corruption of ‘platypous’, where the ‘pous’ meant ‘footed’ – platypuses apparently have flat feet.

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