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opossum

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noun opos·sum \(ə-)ˈpä-səm\

Simple Definition of opossum

  • : a somewhat small white or gray animal that is usually active at night and that lives in North and South America and in Australia

Full Definition of opossum

plural opossums also opossum

  1. 1 :  any of a family (Didelphidae) of American marsupials that usually have a pointed snout and prehensile tail; especially :  a common omnivorous largely nocturnal mammal (Didelphis virginiana) of North America that has grayish to blackish fur with white on the cheeks and is an expert climber

  2. 2 :  any of several Australian phalangers

Illustration of opossum

Origin of opossum

earlier apossoun, opassom, Virginia Algonquian, from Algonquian *wa·p- white + *-aʔθemw- dog


First Known Use: 1610

Other Mammals Terms

Rhymes with opossum


OPOSSUM Defined for Kids

opossum

play
noun opos·sum \ə-ˈpä-səm\

Definition of opossum

  1. :  an American animal related to the kangaroo that has a long pointed snout, lives both on the ground and in trees, and is active at night




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