pl. -·sums or -·sum
any of various families (esp. Didelphidae) of marsupials; esp., any of a small, omnivorous, tree-dwelling American species (Didelphis marsupialis) with a ratlike, prehensile tail, that is active at night and becomes motionless when endangered
Origin of opossum; from Amerindian (Algonquian) name, literally , white beast
nounpl. opossum or o·pos·sums
- Any of various nocturnal, usually arboreal marsupials of the family Didelphidae of the Americas, especially Didelphis virginiana of North and Central America, having a thick coat, a long snout, and a long prehensile tail. See Note at tater.
- A possum of Australia and adjacent islands.
Origin of opossumVirginia Algonquian.
adult female opossum, Didelphis virginiana, transporting offspring on her back