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Derived from opossum by apheresis.


A Brushtail Possum in Australia


possum ‎(plural possums)

  1. (US) An opossum, a marsupial of the family Didelphidae of the Americas.
  2. Any of the marsupials in several families of the order Diprotodontia of Australia and neighboring islands.


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PIE root

From potis ‎(able, capable) + sum ‎(I am).



possum ‎(present infinitive posse, perfect active potuī); irregular conjugation, no passive

  1. I can, am able
    Tunc, modo edere non potuit.
    At that time, he just could not eat.
    Possum Latine loqui.
    I can speak Latin.
    Potesne mihi succurrere, quaeso?
    Can you help me please?
    Si probare possemus Ligarium in Āfricā omnino non fuisse.
    If we could prove that Ligarius was not at all in Africa.


This verb is irregular, but resembles sum prefixed with pot-. Several contractions and simplifications occur, however: -ts- > -ss-, -tf- > -t-, -tess- > -ss-.

   Conjugation of possum (highly irregular, suppletive, active only)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present possum potes potest possumus potestis possunt
imperfect poteram poterās poterat poterāmus poterātis poterant
future poterō poteris, potere poterit poterimus poteritis poterunt
perfect potuī potuistī potuit potuimus potuistis potuērunt, potuēre
pluperfect potueram potuerās potuerat potuerāmus potuerātis potuerant
future perfect potuerō potueris potuerit potuerimus potueritis potuerint
subjunctive singular plural
first second third first second third
active present possim possīs possit possīmus possītis possint
imperfect possem possēs posset possēmus possētis possent
perfect potuerim potuerīs potuerit potuerīmus potuerītis potuerint
pluperfect potuissem potuissēs potuisset potuissēmus potuissētis potuissent
non-finite forms active passive
present perfect future present perfect future
infinitives posse potuisse
participles potēns


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