Definition of posse in English:


Syllabification: pos·se
Pronunciation: /ˈpäsē


  • 1US historical A body of men, typically armed, summoned by a sheriff to enforce the law.
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    • Sheriffs' posses were sent from the mainland with arrest warrants, but Strang, with the help of his lieutenants, evaded capture by skirting the island's shores in a ramshackle boat.
    • In colonial America, policing relied on community consensus and citizens' service as constables and in sheriffs' posses.
    • The station looked deserted, but it wouldn't be for long once the news reached Alpha Station, and where in the galaxies were the sheriff and his posse?
  • 1.1 (also posse comitatus /ˌkämiˈtätəs, -tātəs/) British historical The body of men in a county whom the sheriff could summon to enforce the law.
    [comitatus from medieval Latin, 'of the county']
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    • Prior to the emergence of the police, ordinary citizens would bring what arms they had in response to a ‘hue and cry’ or when serving on a posse comitatus.
    • The Senate added language to account for constitutional authority to use the Army as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, to execute the laws.
  • 1.2 informal A group of people who have a common characteristic, occupation, or purpose: he pompously led around a posse of medical students
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    • The instrument, his long-term comedy partner, was still around for support but he also introduced a posse of new characters and comedy situations.
    • To this end he created a posse of brilliantly realised characters, each complete with their own distinctive voices, personalities and catchphrases.
    • Seemingly all the pre-match focus was on the striker, as a posse of photographers lurking in the press room testified.
    gang, band, group, crowd, pack, horde, herd, throng, mob, swarm, troop, cluster; company, gathering
    informal bunch, gaggle, load
  • 1.3 informal A group of people who socialize together, especially to go to clubs or raves.
    More example sentences
    • No-neck goons in black turtlenecks and lumpy suit jackets are fine if you want to hit a dance club with a posse, but they are not effective for executives.
    • My hard work is paying off as each Thursday my posse of party people gets bigger and bigger.
    • My children, looking gruesome, go off with their posse and gather armfuls of treats.


mid 17th century: from medieval Latin, literally 'power', from Latin posse 'be able'.

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