/pos"euhm/, n.1. opossum.2. play possum, Informal.a. to feign sleep or death.b. to dissemble or pretend ignorance: The baseball broke the window, but the children played possum when asked who had thrown it.3. Australian. any of various phalangers, esp. of the genus Trichosurus.[1605-15, Amer.; short for OPOSSUM]
* * *or phalangerAny of several species (family Phalangeridae) of nocturnal, arboreal marsupials of Australia and New Guinea.They are 22–50 in. (55–125 cm) long, including the long prehensile tail, and have woolly fur. All species eat fruits, leaves, and blossoms; some also eat insects and small vertebrates. Possums grasp branches with their hind feet. Most species bear their young in tree hollows and unused birds' nests; a few build leafy nests. Several species are endangered because of predation, fur trapping, or habitat loss, but the common brush-tailed possum is considered a pest. See also opossum.
* * *in Australia, any member of the phalanger (q.v.) family of marsupial mammals. For phalangers called flying possums, see glider. For American marsupials of similar name, see opossum.
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