opossum

Listen:
 /əˈpɒsəm/


For the noun: opossum
Plural form: opossums, opossum

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
o•pos•sum /əˈpɑsəm, ˈpɑsəm/USA pronunciation   n.[countable]pl.  -sums, (esp. when thought of as a group) -sum. 
  1. 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.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
o•pos•sum  (ə posəm, posəm),USA pronunciation n., pl.  -sums, (esp. collectively) -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.
Cf. possum.
  • Virginia Algonquian (English spelling, spelled) opassom, opussum, aposoum (equivalent. to Proto-Algonquian *wa·p- white + *-aʔθemw- dog)
  • 1600–10, American.


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

opossum /əˈpɒsəm/ n ( pl -sums, -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 tail
  2. Also called (Austral and NZ): possum any of various similar animals, esp the phalanger, Trichosurus vulpecula, of the New Zealand bush
Etymology: 17th Century: from Algonquian aposoum; related to Delaware apässum, literally: white beast



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