a body or force armed with legal authority.

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

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World English Dictionary
posse (ˈpɒsɪ)
1.  (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
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
[C16: from Medieval Latin (n): power, strength, from Latin (vb): to be able, have power]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1645 (in Anglo-L. from 1314), shortening of posse comitatus "the force of the country" (1626, in Anglo-L. from 1285), from M.L. posse "body of men, power," from L. posse "have power, be able" + comitatus "of the country," gen. of L.L. word for "court palace." Modern slang meaning "small gang" is probably
from Western movies.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

posse definition

  1. n.
    the group of teenagers or children that someone plays with or hangs out with. : Hank and his posse are in the backyard playing.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Example sentences
It took courage that none in the dysfunctional political system in the
  developed west seem to posses.
The diamonds' facet surfaces possess differing properties, such as electrical
The data — which school districts across the nation possess on their own
  students — had never been analyzed.
Past experiments indicated that about 7 percent of stars possess planets.
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