9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pos-ee] /ˈpɒs i/
a body or force armed with legal authority.
Origin of posse
1575-85; < Medieval Latin posse power, force, noun use of L infinitive: to be able, have power, equivalent to pot- (see potent) + -se infinitive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for posse
  • Meanwhile, a posse of petrels and albatrosses keep swooping past my head.
  • The salvagers claim the posse wanted to extract money because the barge was in their waters.
  • The power is in the surprising effects that come from receiving thousands of pings from your posse.
  • It's possible that several months without new episodes to power the pony posse will cause the buzz to die down.
  • The house being built for a hermit has enough space to entertain a large posse.
  • He has four thousand employees, three thousand volunteer posse members, and an overworked media-relations staff of five.
  • The average citizen need never defend the city walls, or join a posse to pursue a horse thief, or patrol his neighborhood.
  • There may be less cash flowing around, but you've got your posse.
  • Then there is the local sheriff and a posse of cowboy-hat-wearing deputies who regularly patrol the fence line.
  • Suddenly maracas and mariachi horns announce the arrival of yet another posse.
British Dictionary definitions for posse


(US) Also called posse comitatus. 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
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
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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
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Slang definitions & phrases for posse



: I thought posses were Jamaican. Language changes very fast here, now it just means a small gang

[1980s+ Black teenagers; probably fr the sheriff's posse seen so often in cowboy movies]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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