noun, plural o·pos·sums, (especially collectively) o·pos·sum.
- a prehensile-tailed marsupial, Didelphis virginiana, of the eastern U.S., the female having an abdominal pouch in which its young are carried: noted for the habit of feigning death when in danger.
- any of various animals of related genera.
noun plural -sums or -sum
- any thick-furred marsupial, esp Didelphis marsupialis (common opossum), of the family Didelphidae of S North, Central, and South America, having an elongated snout and a hairless prehensile tailSometimes (informal) shortened to: possum
- Also called (Austral and NZ): possum any of various similar animals, esp the phalanger, Trichosurus vulpecula, of the New Zealand bush
n.1610, from Powhatan (Algonquian) opassum, “equivalent to a proto-Algonquian term meaning ‘white dog'” [Bright].