- the sign ('), as used: to indicate the omission of one or more letters in a word, whether unpronounced, as in o'er for over, or pronounced, as in gov't for government; to indicate the possessive case, as in man's; or to indicate plurals of abbreviations and symbols, as in several M.D.'s, 3's.
Origin of apostrophe1
- a digression in the form of an address to someone not present, or to a personified object or idea, as “O Death, where is thy sting?”
Origin of apostrophe2
Examples from the Web for apostrophe
Ruderman, citing family reasons, eventually returned, and Osberg, Larry Platt and his apostrophe were unceremoniously removed.How the Newspaper Business Became a ‘F**king Disgrace’
December 17, 2013
Jennifer Runyon, one of the name committee's three staffers, says: "We don't debate the apostrophe."It's Our Apostrophe, Government, And We'll Do What We Choose With It
May 16, 2013
The apostrophe to the heroism of the soldiers is sickly and pale.Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863
Bobinette did not seem to understand one word of this apostrophe.A Nest of Spies
And he added the apostrophe, "What a revolutionary torrent is the Loire!"The Historical Nights' Entertainment
If the plural do not end in "s," an "s" is added, and the apostrophe is placed before it.
The apostrophe is used to indicate that some letter or letters of a word are left out.
- the punctuation mark ' used to indicate the omission of a letter or number, such as he's for he has or he is, also used in English to form the possessive, as in John's father and twenty pounds' worth
- rhetoric a digression from a discourse, esp an address to an imaginary or absent person or a personification
Word Origin and History for apostrophe
mark indicating omitted letter, 1580s, from Middle French apostrophe, from Late Latin apostrophus, from Greek apostrophos (prosoidia) "(the accent of) turning away," thus, a mark showing where a letter has been omitted, from apostrephein "avert, turn away," from apo- "from" (see apo-) + strephein "to turn" (see strophe).
In English, the mark often represents loss of -e- in -es, possessive ending. It was being extended to all possessives, whether they ever had an -e- or not, by 18c. Greek also used this word for a "turning aside" of an orator in speech to address some individual, a sense first recorded in English 1530s.