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possum

[pos-uh m] /ˈpɒs əm/
noun
1.
2.
Australian. any of various phalangers, especially of the genus Trichosurus.
Idioms
3.
play possum, Informal.
  1. to feign sleep or death.
  2. to dissemble or pretend ignorance:
    The baseball broke the window, but the children played possum when asked who had thrown it.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15, Americanism; short for opossum
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for possum
  • We have neighbors with dogs, and a possum that sits on the fence in the evening, so our dogs do bark.
  • One of them dies, and the other survives by playing possum using his friend's blood as a disguise.
  • The inquest was perfunctory, as if a possum had been washed ashore.
  • Then a possum decided to make my compost pile his nightly hangout.
British Dictionary definitions for possum

possum

/ˈpɒsəm/
noun
1.
an informal name for opossum (sense 1)
2.
(Austral & NZ) Also called phalanger. any of various Australasian arboreal marsupials, such as Trichosurus vulpecula (brush-tailed phalanger), having dense fur and a long tail: family Phalangeridae
3.
play possum, to pretend to be dead, ignorant, asleep, etc, in order to deceive an opponent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for possum
possum
1613, shortened form of opossum (q.v.). Phrase play possum is first recorded 1822.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with possum
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Word Value for possum

10
13
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