1. A group of civilians called upon by a sheriff or other law enforcement official to assist temporarily in preserving the peace or pursuing and arresting a fugitive. Also called posse comitatus.
2. A search party.
3. A gang involved in crimes such as running guns and illegal narcotics trafficking.
4. Slang A group of friends or associates.
[Short for POSSE COMITATUS.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.