- 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.
Origin of opossum
Examples from the Web for opossum
Historical Examples of opossum
A little higher in the scale stand the kangaroo and the opossum.The Meaning of Evolution
Samuel Christian Schmucker
Among mammals, the best-known example is probably the Opossum.The Industries of Animals
The opossum is famous for carrying its young in a pouch in front of the body.Boy Scouts Handbook
Boy Scouts of America
It had a gray coat, and a tapering muzzle like that of an opossum.Adventures of a Young Naturalist
The next day, to our great satisfaction, the Opossum hove in sight.Salt Water
W. H. G. Kingston
- 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
Word Origin for opossum
1610, from Powhatan (Algonquian) opassum, "equivalent to a proto-Algonquian term meaning 'white dog'" [Bright].