pos·​sum | \ ˈpä-səm How to pronounce possum (audio) \

Definition of possum

1 : opossum sense 1 Well into the twentieth century in the rural South, a possum hunt remained a favorite cold-weather sport …— Evan Jones
2 : any of various small to medium-sized, nocturnal, chiefly arboreal marsupial mammals (especially families Phalangeridae, Pseudocheiridae, and Petauridae) of Australia and New Guinea that have thick, soft fur, a prehensile tail, and a rounded head with protruding eyes and that are mainly herbivorous A member of Australia's rich endemic possum population, it is named for its lemur-like eyes.— Jo Chandler

Note: Possums have a head and body ranging in length from 12 1/2 to 25 1/2 inches (320 to 655 mm) with a tail nearly as long.

— see cuscus, phalanger

Examples of possum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Stars and Stripes belonged to whites; for Black Americans, the song proposed a banner of social and moral depravity decorated with a possum gnawing a pork chop and a chicken with poker dice for eyes over a banjo and a slip to play the numbers. Theodore R. Johnson, New York Times, "The Challenge of Black Patriotism," 18 Nov. 2020 While Joe Biden played possum in his bunker and Trump, in spite of the carnage, maintained some viable wedge of support in the polls, Cuomo was all over TV, with his crisis-time white polo shirt and furrowed brow. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Andrew Cuomo, the King of New York," 12 Oct. 2020 An officer responded to a report of a possum inside a home in the 15000 block of NW. Star Tribune, "Twin Cities metro police blotter, Aug. 23," 22 Aug. 2020 The homeowner told the officer the possum had entered through her doggy door and was hiding under the couch. Star Tribune, "Twin Cities metro police blotter, Aug. 23," 22 Aug. 2020 But a bear and possum barbecue for the whole city to ransack? Josie Sexton, The Denver Post, "At the National Western Stock Show, 4,000 pounds of steak but no possum barbecue," 15 Jan. 2020 Most Wanted—every last rat, weasel, ferret, possum, and stoat that has invaded the city. Mara Johnson-groh, Popular Science, "New Zealand’s bold rat-control campaign sees its first wave of successes," 26 May 2020 The possum was apparently dead—frozen, stiff and drooling. Popular Science, "There was only ever one true Ferris Wheel, and we blew it up," 11 Mar. 2020 The possum was removed from the roadway, the report said. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A woman performed a spiritual ritual on a dead possum in the road, demanding it 'repent,' Waukesha police say," 25 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'possum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of possum

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Cite this Entry

“Possum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possum. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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pos·​sum | \ ˈpä-səm How to pronounce possum (audio) \

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