What does the expression “to play possum” mean and Where does it come from?

The expression “to play possum” means: to pretend; to deceive; especially, to feign sickness or death.

Early American hunters speedily learned that the opossum is a past master in the art of simulating death.

If threatened with capture it will lie with closed eyes and limp muscles, and no amount of handling or ordinary abuse will cause it to show signs of life. Only when thrown into water will it become promptly active.

what does the expression to play possum mean and where does it come from

That ability to show every ordinary indication of death gave rise to our expression at least two centuries ago.

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Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.