1. [late 19C] (US) a coward [one of the animal’s characteristics is feigning death when threatened].
2. [late 19C+] (also opossum) a person (used either affectionately or derog.).
3. [1920s+] (Aus.) a fraudulent substitution [play on SE ring-tail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) + ring in v.1 (1)].
4. [1900s] (US) a black person.
5. [1920s+] (Aus.) a fool, esp. a trickster’s victim; sometimes intensified as posso-de-luxe n.
SE in slang uses
1. [19C–1940s] ‘a baggy, dried cowhide fastened horizontally beneath the wagon box and used for carrying a reserve of fuel’ (P.A. Rollins, Gone Haywire, 1939); also as a term of abuse.
2. [1920s–40s] (US tramp) to ride under a railroad car.
[1900s–60s] (Aus.) a peasant, a country bumpkin; thus possum-eating, countrified.
[2000s] (Aus.) a country-dweller, a peasant.
1. [mid–late 19C] (Aus.) a general term of abuse.
2. [1950s–60s] (Aus.) a coward; thus possum-gutted adj., cowardly.
[1990s+] (US campus) a promiscuous person.
[late 19C] a Native Australian.
1. [mid-19C] (US) to act in a deceptive manner.
2. see also under come the... v.
see have kangaroos in one’s/the (top) paddock under kangaroo n.1
[late 19C–1950s] (Aus.) absolutely contentedly, perfectly happily.
[late 19C+] (Aus.) to create a disturbance, to start things moving, to jolt the general apathy.