opossum


opossum

noun, plural o·pos·sums, (especially collectively) o·pos·sum.

  1. 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.
  2. any of various animals of related genera.

noun plural -sums or -sum

  1. 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
  2. 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].

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