play possum

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play possum

Fig. to pretend to be inactive, unobservant, asleep, or dead. (The possum refers to an opossum.) I knew that Bob wasn't asleep. He was just playing possum. I can't tell if this animal is dead or just playing possum.
See also: play

play possum

to pretend to be dead or sleeping His younger sister jumped on him because she knew he was just playing possum.
Usage notes: usually done so that someone will not annoy or attack you
Etymology: from the habit of a possum ( or opossum, a small wild animal) of not moving when in danger
See also: play

play possum

to pretend to be dead or sleeping so that someone will not annoy or attack you I don't think he's really asleep. He's playing possum.
See also: play

play possum

Pretend to be dead or asleep, as in Max always plays possum when it's time to clean up his room. This expression alludes to the fact that the opossum falls into an apparent coma when caught, giving the appearance of death. [1820s]
See also: play

play possum

To pretend to be sleeping or dead.
See also: play
References in periodicals archive ?
Blossom Possum is very worried about the sky falling and decides to go and see the Prime Minister.
The clipping also offered a recipe for roast possum, but I figure anyone who gets that far will already have a recipe in mind.
It's straight up Possum Golf where talk is frequent but cheap.
If the white possum truly vanishes, what will we have lost?
FULL THROTTLE: Diego the tiger takes Sid the sloth in hand' POSSUM PALS: Josh Peck and William Scott
Possums and bird dogs: Australian Army Aviation's 161 Reconnaissance Flight in South Vietnam, Allen & Unwin Australia, ISBN: 9781741146356, paperback, 272 p.
Now the 21-year-old is playing possum in Tinseltown and this year is also starring alongside Ethan Hawke in the adaptation of controversial bestseller Fast Food Nation (her favourite book), and with Richard Gere in The Flock.
When Possum Lodge is taken to court after a big-shot executive's limousine is damaged in the Lodge parking lot, the boys are ordered to pay $10,000 within 10 days--or they lose their beloved Lodge.
As the possum observed, "We have met the enemy and he is us.
They call themselves anarchists, dress in black, and go by first names only: Spider, Possum, Nimo, Rob.
over his shoulder, the long tail wrapped about two fingers like so much kite string, then swiftly waves the possum round and round over his head - whereby to build sufficient torque to fling it a distance over the road edge into some far ravine.
Jimmy Osmond's Awesome Possum Family Band" is an inspiring animal characters story about seeking your secret talent, based on the real life experiences of Jimmy Osmond and the award-winning Osmond family band.
Tenders are invited for Design/Build Bids For The Possum Creek Lift Station Pump Replacement.