An American marsupial that has a ratlike prehensile tail and hind feet with an opposable thumb.
- Family Didelphidae: several genera and numerous species, in particular the cat-sized common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis) of North, Central, and South America, which in North America was formerly known as the Virginia opossum and was considered a distinct species (D. virginiana)
More example sentences
- Scientists say this mammal is the oldest known fossil ancestor of modern marsupials - which include opossums, kangaroos, and koalas.
- Marsupials, such as the opossums of the Americas and the kangaroos, koalas, and wombats of Australasia, generally give birth to tiny immature young which then complete their developments in a pouch.
- Primitively clumsy and slow, with conical heads and pointed pink noses, sparse gray fur and naked ears, mature opossums reach the size of house cats (about ten pounds).
early 17th century: from Virginia Algonquian opassom, from op 'white' + assom 'dog'.
Definition of opossum in:
- The British & World English dictionary