Share this entry

Share this page

opossum

Syllabification: o·pos·sum
Pronunciation: /(ə)ˈpäsəm
 
/

Definition of opossum in English:

noun

An American marsupial that has a ratlike prehensile tail and hind feet with an opposable thumb.
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).

Origin

early 17th century: from Virginia Algonquian opassom, from op 'white' + assom 'dog'.

Definition of opossum in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day verbose
Pronunciation: vəːˈbəʊs
adjective
using more words than are needed…