- 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 tail
- Also called (Austral and NZ): possum any of various similar animals, esp the phalanger, Trichosurus vulpecula, of the New Zealand bush
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- Mammalsa small animal with a long tail, of the eastern U.S., that carries its young in a pouch and is noted for pretending to be dead when it is in danger.
- 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.
- Virginia Algonquian (English spelling, spelled) opassom, opussum, aposoum (equivalent. to Proto-Algonquian *wa·p- white + *-aʔθemw- dog)
- 1600–10, American.