Platform Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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Platform is a word that can have a few meanings depending on the context. You may have heard it used when referring to Apple and Android operating systems, non-flat surfaces (AKA, platforms), or even social media platforms. 

Once we explain the definition and origin of the word platform, you will see why it is used in such broad terms. 

We will explain the definition of platform and all the contexts it can be used in throughout this post. Our example sentences ensure you see the word in all contexts.

 Let’s discuss all things platform. 

What Is the Definition of Platform?

The definition of platform is a horizontal structure that is raised from the floor or surface area. Platforms are normally areas where people will congregate. 

For example, public speakers use platforms or stages to speak to a crowd. Since platform is a word used to describe a raised surface, you will see it used in phrases like “train platform” or “drilling platform.” 

Does Platform Have Any Other Meanings?

As we just learned, the definition of platform (plat·​form) is a raised floor, area, or structure. However, the word platform is often used in other terms as well. Let’s take a closer look at other places you might find the word platform!

Platform Shoes

We want to provide you with an example of a platform (in the literary sense) before we get into all the other meanings platform has. 

If you’ve even heard of (or seen) platform shoes or sandals, then you should have a good idea of what platform means. 

Platform sandals have a very thick sole, giving the wearer added height. The name was coined as it looked like people were walking on a raised platform. 

Platform shoes were a trending clothing item in the 90s, courtesy of The Spice Girls, and they haven’t lost their allure since. Even though this shoe style gained massive attention in the 90s doesn’t mean the history of this shoe style started then. 

Platform shoes have actually been around for quite some time; since 600 BCE. These platform soles were used when playing competitive sports to increase their height, and high-status women wore them. During this time, they were called Chopines. 

Platform in Digital Technology

The word platform also has plenty of uses in the world of digital technology, including:

  • Hardware platforms
  • Software platforms
  • Gaming platforms
  • Operations software or operations systems
  • Apps
  • Computing platforms

Other Meanings of Platform

As we said, platform can take on a different meaning depending on the context, so here are some other ways you may see platform used:

  • Horizontal surface or structure raised above the surface. 
  • A raised floor where people speak or perform (podium) 
  • Somewhere for public discussion (forum)
  • A set of views or beliefs some have. For example, political parties or politicians’ platforms are their beliefs and what they hope to accomplish after the election. This is called a political platform.
  • A theme of religious views or indoctrinations 
  • A raised structure designated for construction purposes (drilling platform)

What Is The Origin of Platform?

Platform (french plateforme) comes from Middle French, meaning a “flat form.” The term was commonly used when explaining a raised frame or structure with a level surface. In 1813 railroad stations began explaining the area where people waited near the railroad tracks as a “waiting platform.” These platforms were built to help keep people safer. 

What Does Platform Mean in Political Terms? 

Platform is also used in political terms. It’s used to explain or describe political parties’ beliefs and promises. It’s thought the word gained this meeting as politicians would often meet and speak from podiums and stages when discussing their views and options. 

What Does Platform Mean in Social Media Terms? 

If platform means (by definition) a horizontal structure raised above the surface, then why is it used to explain social media platforms, apps, and software platforms? Does it seem like this word would not correlate with the others? That’s the funny thing about the English language; sometimes, the rules can be tricky —- and surprising. 

Since platforms can describe operating systems like apps, social media apps or websites are also called platforms; they are also a place for people to voice their views and opinions if they’d like. These opinions aren’t always political but can be if they’d like. 

Many IOS and Android programs rely on these operating systems and social media platforms to stay relevant. Social media and other apps are the main draws of having a smartphone.

When Can You Use Platform? 

Here are a few examples of when you can use platform in a sentence. 

I saw my family waiting on the platform as I arrived at the train station.

He stood on the platform and preached during Sunday mass.

She has many followers on her social media platforms.

He did most of his work on the drilling platform during construction.

The Russian Orthodox church has a platform where the singer stands to perform. 

Android and Apple have computer programing software that helps better their cloud platforms. 

The Takeaway 

Platforms are raised horizontal structures commonly referred to as stages or podiums. This word can mean a few different things depending on its context, so you must know all its uses. 

The English language can be tricky, so knowing the meanings of words can seriously benefit your vocabulary and writing skills. A good grasp of the English language is important for your academics and career.  


Platform Definition & Meaning |

PLATFORM | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Horizontal definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary