Definition of possum in English:
- Four families, especially Petauridae: many species, including the ringtails
- It is what we, as carers of koalas, birds, possums, macropods (wallabies, kangaroos etc.) and other wildlife carers are trained to do.
- Maybe you would see koalas, wombats, echidnas, brush tail and ring tail possums and emus if you're lucky.
- In Tasmania we have such a huge amount of wildlife: brush tail possums, all sorts of animals that at a glimpse, at a distance in poor light or whatever, can appear to be a fox.
- Today I did washing at home in my washing machine, on the off-chance that it'd just been playing possum, and lo and behold, it worked just fine.
- After a retrospective release the band finally relented after 28 years of playing possum.
- Isn't that playing possum stuff supposed to protect them?
Early 17th century: shortening of opossum.
An informal American term for the opossum, a marsupial whose name comes from a Native American word meaning ‘white dog’. This animal feigns death when it is threatened or attacked, which is why playing possum, an expression recorded from the early 19th century in the USA, is pretending to be asleep or unconscious when threatened. In Australia, to stir the possum is to stir up controversy or liven things up. The Australian possum is also a marsupial but is a different animal from its American counterpart.
Words that rhyme with possumblossom, opossum
Definition of possum in:
- British & World English dictionary
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