possum

A possum is a cat-sized nocturnal animal that's known for acting like it's dead when threatened. If you find a white animal with black eyes and ears in your garbage at night, it's probably a possum.

The word possum is an informal, regional variation on opossum that's only used in North America. It's especially common in the phrase "playing possum," which refers to the possum's involuntary reaction to fear or harm, falling into a death-like faint, and also to a person who pretends to be innocent. So you might accuse your younger brother, as he shrugs when you ask who ate the last brownie, of playing possum.

Definitions of possum
1

n nocturnal arboreal marsupial having a naked prehensile tail found from southern North America to northern South America

Synonyms:
opossum
Types:
Didelphis marsupialis, Didelphis virginiana, common opossum
omnivorous opossum of the eastern United States; noted for feigning death when in danger; esteemed as food in some areas; considered same species as the crab-eating opossum of South America
crab-eating opossum
South American opossum
Type of:
marsupial, pouched mammal
mammals of which the females have a pouch (the marsupium) containing the teats where the young are fed and carried

n small furry Australian arboreal marsupials having long usually prehensile tails

Synonyms:
opossum, phalanger
Types:
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
cuscus
woolly-haired monkey-like arboreal marsupial of New Guinea and northern Australia
Trichosurus vulpecula, brush-tailed phalanger
bushy-tailed phalanger
flying opossum, flying phalanger, flying squirrel
nocturnal phalangers that move with gliding leaps using parachute-like folds of skin along the sides of the body
Phascolarctos cinereus, kangaroo bear, koala, koala bear, native bear
sluggish tailless Australian arboreal marsupial with grey furry ears and coat; feeds on eucalyptus leaves and bark
flying mouse
tiny flying phalanger
Type of:
marsupial, pouched mammal
mammals of which the females have a pouch (the marsupium) containing the teats where the young are fed and carried

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