August 23, 2016
opossum (noun)
\uh-PAH-sum\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a common marsupial mammal of the eastern U.S. that usually is active at night and dwells in trees
How do you use it?
Rick laughed at how surprised his dog looked when it ran over to sniff an opossum it found in the woods and the animal toppled over and played dead!
Are you a word wiz?

"Opossum" isn't originally an English word. What language do you think we get "opossum" from?

Opossums, like many animals from North America, get their name from the language of American Indians. "Opossum" comes from Algonquian, which is actually a family of languages spoken by native peoples from the eastern part of what is now the United States and Canada. In Algonquian, the linguistic ancestor of "opossum" meant "white animal." The first known use of "opossum" in English dates from 1610, when the word appeared in a pamphlet published in London by the Virginia Company. The writer of that booklet described opossums as animals "in shape like to pigges."
Archive RSS Feed