Definition of possum in English:


Line breaks: pos¦sum
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒsəm


1A tree-dwelling Australasian marsupial that typically has a prehensile tail.
  • Four families, especially Petauridae: many species, including the ringtails
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.1North American informal An opossum.
More example sentences
  • A favourite southern dish is possum and taters: the opossum is parboiled, then salted and peppered and roasted in a pan with peeled, roasted sweet potatoes.


early 17th century: shortening of opossum.


play possum

1Pretend to be asleep or unconscious (as an opossum does when threatened).
More example sentences
  • 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?
2Feign ignorance.
More example sentences
  • He has obviously decided to put the boot in, knowing that the majority of unions have played possum for so long now on so much.

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