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.
More example sentences
  • 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']
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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'.

Definition of posse in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day nous
Pronunciation: naʊs
common sense; practical intelligence