ETYM Shortened from opossum.
Any American marsupial of the genera Didelphys and Chironectes. The common species of the United States is Didelphys Virginiana.
Another name for the opossum, a marsupial animal with a prehensile tail found in North, Central and South America. The name is also used for many of the smaller marsupials found in Australia.
Among the smaller marsupials found in Australia are the tiny honey possum Tarsipes spencerae, which has a long tongue to take nectar from flowers. The big gliding possum Schoinobates volans can glide 100 m/300ft or more on the large membrane stretched between front and back limbs. The brush possumTrichosurus vulpecula is now common in New Zealand.