pos·​se | \ ˈpä-sē How to pronounce posse (audio) \

Definition of posse

1 : a large group often with a common interest
2 : a body of persons summoned by a sheriff to assist in preserving the public peace usually in an emergency
3 : a group of people temporarily organized to make a search (as for a lost child)

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Did You Know?

Posse started out as a technical term in law, part of the term "posse comitatus," which in Medieval Latin meant power or authority of the county. As such, it referred to a group of citizens summoned by a sheriff to preserve the public peace as allowed for by law. "Preserving the public peace" so often meant hunting down a supposed criminal that "posse" eventually came to mean any group organized to make a search or embark on a mission. In even broader use it can refer to any group, period. Sometimes nowadays that group is a gang or a rock band but it can as easily be any group - of politicians, models, architects, tourists, children, or what have you - acting in concert.

Examples of posse in a Sentence

The sheriff and his posse rode out to look for the bandits. I went to the game with my posse.

Recent Examples on the Web

The one-two punch of Shook and her posse and then McPherson and his had the crowd under the tent up and moving. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "FitzGerald’s American Music Fest still going strong," 3 July 2019 Disenchanted: Guggenheim Entertainment presents the hit musical by Dennis T. Giacino featuring Snow White and a posse of disenchanted princesses. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "San Jose calendar of events for the week of July 5," 30 June 2019 Daenerys and Jon’s very large posse includes the Unsullied Army, the Dothraki, Tyrion Lannister, Lord Varys, Missandei, Grey Worm, Ser Jorah Mormont, Gendry, the Hound, and the two remaining Targaryen dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1: Everything You Need to Know," 15 Apr. 2019 Morgan McMullen / Getty Images Heroic intervention comes from the Stanley brothers, a posse of gents who grow pot in Colorado. Amber Senter, Marie Claire, "We Have to Acknowledge That CBD Use Is a Privilege," 11 Apr. 2019 Despite Cattrall joking that her character, Samantha Jones, should just be played by another actress in the sequel, the rest of the cast were seemingly disappointed that the fourth member of their onscreen posse no longer wanted to be involved. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Jessica Parker Wants Us to See the 'Sex and the City 3' Script, but It Sounds So Sad," 10 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, Trump posse members started dropping like flies. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "The Russia Investigation Is Almost Over. Here's What You Need to Know," 8 Dec. 2018 And, having joined the royal family in 2018, Meghan Markle features in the sweet outtakes as a key member of Charles' posse. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Stuns in Outtakes from Prince Charles' Birthday Portraits," 18 Nov. 2018 As of today, the Russian Federation posses so far the only (piloted) transport system. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Is Riled Up About Being Left Behind in Space," 10 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'posse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of posse

1645, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for posse

Medieval Latin posse comitatus, literally, power or authority of the county

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Statistics for posse

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for posse

The first known use of posse was in 1645

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More Definitions for posse



English Language Learners Definition of posse

: a group of people who were gathered together by a sheriff in the past to help search for a criminal
informal : a group of people who are together for a particular purpose
informal : a group of friends


pos·​se | \ ˈpä-sē How to pronounce posse (audio) \

Kids Definition of posse

: a group of people gathered together to make a search and especially in the past to search for a criminal

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More from Merriam-Webster on posse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with posse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for posse

Spanish Central: Translation of posse

Britannica English: Translation of posse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on posse

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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