Definition of opossum
1 : any of a family (Didelphidae) of small- to medium-sized American marsupials that usually have a pointed snout and nearly hairless scaly prehensile tail, are typically active at night, and are sometimes hunted for their fur or meat; especially : a common omnivorous (see omnivorous 1) largely nocturnal mammal (Didelphis virginiana) of North and Central America that is a skilled climber, that typically has a white face and grayish body and in the female a well-developed fur-lined pouch, and that when threatened may feign death by curling up the body and remaining motionless and unresponsive
2 : any of several Australian phalangers
Recent Examples of opossum from the Web
Other examples of convergence include the rise of flight among birds, bats, insects, and pterodactyls, and the evolution of opposable thumbs in primates, pandas, and opossums.
Along with coyotes have come rodents, opossums and snakes, as well as an endless stream of mosquitoes whose populations have exploded in the standing pools of water in the open cans.
Species common to the plantation include Whitetail deer (30+ years of trophy management), Eastern Turkey, Wild hogs, Bob Cats, Coyote and small game such as squirrels, rabbits, opossum and armadillo.
There are three kinds of mammals: egg-laying monotremes such as the platypus, marsupials like kangaroos and opossums, and the majority—placental, or eutherian, mammals—including humans and about 4400 other mammal species.
Because there was a possibility of rabies exposure, the officer euthanized the opossum for health department testing.
After an opossum was seen walking in circles shortly after midnight May 14 in front of Home Depot, and hissed at a concerned person, police were called.
An officer removed an opossum from the bowl and took it to City Wildlife for rehabilitation.
But with so many species sprinkled across so many habitats, Pavan went to museums to supplement her search for opossums in the wild.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'opossum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of opossum
earlier apossoun, opassom, borrowed from a Virginia Algonquian word of uncertain form, going back to Algonquian *wa·p- “white” + *-aʔθemw- “dog, small animal”
First Known Use: 1610See Words from the same year
OPOSSUM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of opossum for English Language Learners
: a somewhat small white or gray animal that is usually active at night and that lives in North and South America and in Australia
OPOSSUM Defined for Kids
Definition of opossum for Students
: 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
Seen and Heard
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