Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

posse

[pos-ee]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. posse comitatus.
  2. a body or force armed with legal authority.
  3. Slang. a group of friends or associates: hanging out with your posse; a posse of drug dealers.
Show More

Origin of posse

1575–85; < Medieval Latin posse power, force, noun use of L infinitive: to be able, have power, equivalent to pot- (see potent1) + -se infinitive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for posses

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for posses

posse

noun
  1. Also called: posse comitatus US the able-bodied men of a district assembled together and forming a group upon whom the sheriff may call for assistance in maintaining law and order
  2. law possibility (esp in the phrase in posse)
  3. slang a Jamaican street gang in the US
  4. informal a group of friends or associates
Show More

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin (n): power, strength, from Latin (vb): to be able, have power
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for posses

posse

n.

1640s (in Anglo-Latin from early 14c.), shortening of posse comitatus "the force of the county" (1620s, in Anglo-Latin from late 13c.), from Medieval Latin posse "body of men, power," from Latin posse "have power, be able" (see potent) + comitatus "of the county," genitive of Late Latin word for "court palace" (see comitatus). Modern slang meaning "small gang" is probably from Western movies.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper