possum


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Opossum \O*pos"sum\, n. [Of N. American Indian origin.] (Zool.)
   Any American marsupial of the genera Didelphys and
   Chironectes; called also possum. The common species of
   the United States is Didelphys Virginiana.
   [1913 Webster]

   Note: Several related species are found in South America. The
         water opossum of Brazil (Chironectes variegatus),
         which has the hind feet, webbed, is provided with a
         marsupial pouch and with cheek pouches. It is called
         also yapock.
         [1913 Webster]

   Opossum mouse. (Zool.) See Flying mouse, under Flying.
      

   Opossum shrimp (Zool.), any schizopod crustacean of the
      genus Mysis and allied genera. See Schizopoda.
      [1913 Webster]
.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Possum \Pos"sum\, n. [Shortened from opossum.] (Zool.)
   An opossum. [Colloq. U. S.]
   [1913 Webster]

   To play possum, To act possum, to feign ignorance,
      indifference or inattention, with the intent to deceive;
      to dissemble; -- in allusion to the habit of the opossum,
      which feigns death when attacked or alarmed.
      [1913 Webster]
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