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 also cuscus, phalanger

Examples of possum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The possums actually experienced less mortality from the fires than from year-to-year changes in water availability. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Australia’s Bushfires Have Likely Devastated Wildlife—and the Impact Will Only Get Worse," 8 Jan. 2020 Perfect timing: Today - Jan. 7 - is National Bobblehead Day. The possum's image is decked out in a Browns jersey sitting on a helmet base. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns Rally Possum bobblehead is on sale," 7 Jan. 2020 After he was read his Miranda rights, authorities said Eames admitted that Shorty killed a cat and the possum, but said a neighbor’s cat escaped. William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "Charges upgraded to felony for man accused of posting videos of dog killing animals," 13 May 2018 For years, Clay's Corner, a North Carolina convenience store, lowered a live-possum to ring in the New Year. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "From possums to potatoes, here are the weird things people are 'dropping' on New Year's Eve," 31 Dec. 2019 The rare animal looks more like a cute cross between a squirrel and a possum than like a rat. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Exoplanets, black holes, human ancestors and new dinosaurs: The 2010s were stellar for space and science discoveries," 20 Dec. 2019 In June, a man staying at a lodge in Tasmania, Australia, witnessed a large huntsman spider eating what appeared to be a pygmy possum. Fox News, "Shocking photo of a colony of huntsman spiders living together found in Australia," 10 Dec. 2019 There are no bears in New Zealand; in fact, the largest predator of any kind in New Zealand is the possum. Longreads, "Tramp Like Us," 18 Sep. 2019 At the turn of the 20th century, raccoon, possum and squirrel had become so popular that they were sold in city game markets and featured on the menus of many urban restaurants. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Raccoon Was Once a Thanksgiving Feast Fit for a President," 28 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of possum

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about possum

Time Traveler for possum

Time Traveler

The first known use of possum was in 1613

See more words from the same year

Statistics for possum

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Possum.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possum. Accessed 25 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for possum


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

Kids Definition of possum

More from Merriam-Webster on possum

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with possum

Spanish Central: Translation of possum

Comments on possum

What made you want to look up possum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!