One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A lemurlike tree-dwelling marsupial native to Australia and New Guinea.
Family Phalangeridae: several genera, in particular Phalanger and Spilocuscus, and including the cuscuses; the common phalanger is either the spotted cuscus or the gray cuscus. See also flying phalanger
- ‘Phalangers, more commonly known as possums and cuscuses, are marsupials but with a vague resemblance to some monkeys.’
- ‘Brushtail phalangers have large ears, small dark eyes and extremely soft fur which varies in color from gray to rust red. They have a brush-like tail which is prehensile, but not weight bearing.’
- ‘And we had a phalanger, a flying possum that used to cling onto the curtains and fly around at night.’
Late 18th century: from French, from Greek phalangion ‘spider's web’ (because of the webbed toes of their hind feet).
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