The Meaning of Platform: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of platform? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word platform, including its definition, usage, word origin, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word platform mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, the word platform means many different things. This noun can be used to refer to a flat horizontal surface that is usually higher than another area, such as raised flooring or an area of a railway station where passengers board. This raised surface can also be used more generally to refer to things that are up high, like a pair of leather shoes where the outer sole is raised by cork. This kind of high shoe is referred to as a platform shoe. 

It can also be used to refer to a set of principles held by a politician or political party. Platform is also used to refer to  a means by which to communicate ideas or information such as social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. People discuss a broad set of issues here and use these platforms for discussion purposes. Reviews for Uber drivers or AirBnb hosts are also considered a public digital platform.

Platform also refers to a computer operating system. These kinds of software might use a component, database, microprocessor, CPUs, server, web browsers, analytics, application programs, hardware environment, or additional software in a different way than others. This basic technology of a computer system will be different for Android versus iOS, or another particular type of computer or particular operating system such as the Windows platform versus Mac, Intel, or Linux. People get very picky about the type of computer system they use. Platform can also refer to a set of components shared by several vehicle models. The word platform is two syllables – plat-form, and the pronunciation of platform is ˈplætfɔːm. 

Many different languages use words that mean platform to refer to a flat level place, computer operating system, and a political stance. You may notice that some of these translations of platform look and sound similar to the word platform. These are called cognates, which are formed when two words have the same root or language or origin. This list of translations of platform is provided by Word Sense.

Meaning 1 – flat surface

  •  Portuguese: plataforma‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Plattform‎ (fem.), Podest‎ (neut.)
  •  Greek: εξέδρα‎ (fem.), πλατφόρμα‎ (fem.)
  •  Turkish: platform‎, podyum‎
  •  Italian: piattaforma‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: podium‎ (neut.), scenă‎ (fem.), estradă‎ (fem.)
  •  Roman: podij‎ (masc.)
  •  Welsh: llwyfan‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  French: scène‎ (fem.), podium‎ (masc.)
  •  Hindi: मंच‎ (masc.)
  •  Swedish: plattform‎ (common), estrad‎ (common), scen‎ (common), podium‎ (neut.)
  •  Japanese: 演壇‎ (えんだん, endan)
  •  Russian: помо́ст‎ (masc.), по́диум‎ (masc.), платфо́рма‎ (fem.)
  •  Slovene: podij‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: podium‎ (neut.), platform‎ (neut.), verhoog‎ (neut.)
  •  Catalan: tarima‎ (fem.)
  •  Finnish: lava‎, esiintymislava‎; puhujakoroke‎ (stage for speeches)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: àrd-ùrlar‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: emelvény‎, pódium‎

Meaning 2 – political ideology

  •  Roman: platforma‎ (fem.)
  •  Hebrew: מצע‎
  •  Greek: πλατφόρμα‎ (fem.)
  •  Persian: پلاتفرم‎ (plâtform), مواضع‌نامه‎ (mavâze’-nâme)
  •  Cyrillic: платфо́рма‎ (fem.)
  •  Hungarian: politikai program‎, pártprogram‎
  •  Finnish: ohjelma‎, periaateohjelma‎
  •  Russian: платфо́рма‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: plataforma‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: podium‎ (neut.), kiesprogramma‎ (neut.), programma‎ (neut.)
  •  Swedish: plattform‎ (common)
  •  German: Programm‎ (neut.), Parteiprogramm‎ (neut.), Grundsatzprogramm‎ (neut.)
  •  Catalan: programa‎ (masc.), plataforma‎ (fem.)

Meaning 3 – computing operating system or environment

  •  Portuguese: plataforma‎ (fem.)
  •  French: plateforme‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: platform‎ (neut.)
  •  Turkish: platform‎
  •  Italian: piattaforma‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: platforma‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Plattform‎ (fem.)
  •  Spanish: plataforma‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: платфо́рма‎ (fem.)
  •  Catalan: plataforma‎ (fem.)
  •  Roman: platforma‎ (fem.)
  •  Cyrillic: платфо́рма‎ (fem.)
  •  Swedish: plattform‎ (common)
  •  Arabic: مَنَصَّة‎ (fem.)
  •  Mandarin: 平臺‎, 平台‎ (píngtái)
  •  Korean: 단‎
  •  Finnish: alusta‎, sovellusalusta‎
  •  Cantonese: 平臺‎, 平台‎ (ping4 toi4)
  •  Japanese: 台‎ (だい, dai)

What is the origin of the word platform?

According to Etymonline, the word platform has been used since the 1540s Middle English to refer to a plan of action, and since the 1550s to refer to a drawing or sketch. These meanings are now obsolete, but form from the French plateforme meaning diagram, Middle French plate-forme and platte fourme, meaning flat form. These come from the Old French plat, which is also where we get the word plateau, and forme, which means form. Platform has been used to refer to a raised level surface since the 1550s, in geography since 1813, and to refer to a railroad walkway since 1832. It has referred to a statement of political principles in government since 1803, and was likely originally literally an image of a platform on which politicians gather, stand, and make their appeals. This was influenced by using platform in England to refer to a set of rules governing church doctrine in the 1570s. In the 19c, it began to be used generally to refer to the function of public speaking. Related words include deplatform, form, plan, plank, planks, and plateau.

What are synonyms for the word platform?

There are many different words and phrases a person can use in place of the word platform, for each of its various definitions. These are called synonyms. Learning words that have the same definition as a given word is useful if you are trying not to repeat yourself or if you are looking to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms of platform is provided by Thesaurus.

Meaning 1 – stage or flat surface

  •  dais
  •  rostrum
  •  scaffold
  •  scaffolding
  •  floor
  •  podium
  •  belvedere
  •  staging
  •  pulpit
  •  stand
  •  terrace
  •  stage
  •  craton
  •  tribune

 Meaning 2 – political principles

  •  stump
  •  promises
  •  objectives
  •  principle
  •  party line
  •  policy
  •  soapbox
  •  tenets
  •  program
  •  political stance
  •  manifesto
  •  plank

Overall, the word platform (c16) has many different meanings. It can refer to a specific type of computer hardware or specific software that utilize a specific set of components on which a program runs, a raised stage, a hind of high shoe, a raised area, or the principles of a political party called a political party platform. 


  1. PLATFORM Synonyms: 20 Synonyms & Antonyms for PLATFORM | Thesaurus 
  2. platform: meaning, origin, translation | Thesaurus 
  3. platform | Origin and meaning of platform | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Platform | Definition of Platform | Merriam-Webster