[ pohz ]
/ poʊz /
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See synonyms for: pose / posed / poses / posing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object), posed, pos·ing.
verb (used with object), posed, pos·ing.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of pose

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English verb posen, from Middle French poser, from Late Latin pausāre “to stop, cease, rest,” derivative of Latin pausa “stop, cessation” (see origin at pause); French poser has taken over the basic sense of Latin pōnere “to put, place” and represents it in French borrowings of its prefixed derivatives (see compose, depose, etc.), probably reinforced by the accidental resemblance of poser to positum, past participle of pōnere; noun derivative of the verb

synonym study for pose

7. See position.


pos·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for pose (2 of 3)

[ pohz ]
/ poʊz /

verb (used with object), posed, pos·ing.
to perplex or baffle, as by a difficult question or problem.
Obsolete. to examine by putting questions.

Origin of pose

First recorded in 1520–30; shortening of obsolete appose, variant of oppose, used in sense of Latin appōnere “to put to”

Other definitions for pose (3 of 3)

[ poh-zey; French paw-zey ]
/ poʊˈzeɪ; French pɔˈzeɪ /

noun, plural po·sés [poh-zeyz; French paw-zey]. /poʊˈzeɪz; French pɔˈzeɪ/. Ballet.
a movement in which the dancer steps, in any desired position, from one foot to the other with a straight knee onto the flat foot, demi-pointe, or pointe.

Origin of posé

1925–30; <French: poised, past participle of poser to pose; see pose1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is the basic definition of pose?

Pose means to position your body in a particular way for a painting, picture, or similar situation. Pose also means the particular positioning you assume as part of posing. To pose also means to state or assert something. Pose has several other senses as a verb and a noun.

When people pose, they arrange their body and face in a certain position for some reason. For example, people often pose for pictures by making a peace sign with their hand or blowing a kiss to the camera. Before cameras were invented, politicians and other important people would pose for portraits, which often involved remaining completely still for hours at a time. A person who poses is called a poser.

  • Real-life examples: Supermodels will pose when they reach the end of a catwalk. People often pose in selfies that they then post on social media. It is thought that the woman who posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo.
  • Used in a sentence: My family posed for a picture to use on a Christmas card. 

In this same sense, pose means a specific arrangement of the body and face that a person assumes for some reason.

  • Real-life examples: Yoga involves positioning your body in a variety of poses. Many dance routines involve performing a variety of poses. Your mom likely wants you to have a nice pose for your school picture.
  • Used in a sentence: The painting depicted the king in a very powerful pose.

As a verb, pose can also mean to assert, state, or put forward.

  • Real-life examples: Reporters pose questions to people they are interviewing. An active volcano often poses problems to people who live nearby. A new job often poses many new challenges that a person must overcome.
  • Used in a sentence: Pollution poses a threat to a healthy environment. 

Where does pose come from?

The first records of pose come from around 1325. It ultimately comes from the Late Latin pausāre, meaning “to stop” or “to cease.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to pose?

  • poser (noun)
  • posable (adjective)
  • posingly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for pose?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pose

What are some words that often get used in discussing pose?

How is pose used in real life?

Pose is a common word that most often means to position your body in a certain way for a picture or photograph.

Try using pose!

Is pose used correctly in the following sentence?

The undercover police officer posed as a mail carrier while following the suspect.

How to use pose in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pose (1 of 2)

/ (pəʊz) /

to assume or cause to assume a physical attitude, as for a photograph or painting
(intr often foll by as) to pretend to be or present oneself (as something one is not)
(intr) to affect an attitude or play a part in order to impress others
(tr) to put forward, ask, or assertto pose a question
a physical attitude, esp one deliberately adopted for or represented by an artist or photographer
a mode of behaviour that is adopted for effect

Word Origin for pose

C14: from Old French poser to set in place, from Late Latin pausāre to cease, put down (influenced by Latin pōnere to place)

British Dictionary definitions for pose (2 of 2)

/ (pəʊz) /

verb (tr)
rare to puzzle or baffle
archaic to question closely

Word Origin for pose

C16: from obsolete appose, from Latin appōnere to put to, set against; see oppose
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