[ pos-ee ]
/ ˈpɒs i /


a body or force armed with legal authority.
Slang. a group of friends or associates: hanging out with your posse; a posse of drug dealers.

Nearby words

  1. posole,
  2. posologic,
  3. posology,
  4. poss,
  5. poss.,
  6. posse comitatus,
  7. posser,
  8. possess,
  9. possessed,
  10. possessed by

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

in posse

[ in pos-e; English in pos-ee ]
/ ɪn ˈpɒs ɛ; English ɪn ˈpɒs i /

adverb, adjective Latin.

in possibility; potentially (contrasted with in esse).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for posse

British Dictionary definitions for posse


/ (ˈpɒsɪ) /


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
law possibility (esp in the phrase in posse)
slang a Jamaican street gang in the US
informal a group of friends or associates

Word Origin for posse

C16: from Medieval Latin (n): power, strength, from Latin (vb): to be able, have power

in posse

/ (ɪn ˈpɒsɪ) /


possible; potentialCompare in esse

Word Origin for in posse

Latin, literally: in possibility

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 posse



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper