c. 1600, "position, situation; disposition of the several parts of anything with respect to one another or a particular purpose," especially of the body, "pose," from French posture (16c.), from Italian postura "position, posture," from Latin positura "position, station," from postulus from past participle stem of ponere "to put, place" (see position (n.)). The figurative sense of "a state of being or attitude in relation to circumstances" is from 1640s. Related: Postural.
1620s, transitive, "to place, set," from posture (n.). Intransitive sense of "assume a particular posture of the body, dispose the body in a particular attitude" is by 1851 (at first in reference to contortionists). The figurative sense of "take up an artificial position of the mind or character" (hence "display affectation") is attested by 1877. Related: Postured; posturing.