1 [uh-pos-truh-fee]
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.

1580–90; < Middle French (with pronunciation later altered by confusion with apostrophe2), replacing earlier apostrophus < Late Latin (> Middle French) < Greek apóstrophos (prosōidía) eliding (mark), literally, (mark) of turning away, verbid of apostréphein to turn away, equivalent to apo- apo- + stréphein to turn; see strophe

ap·os·troph·ic [ap-uh-strof-ik, -stroh-fik] , adjective
Apostrophe is always a great word to know.
So is flibbertigibbet. Does it mean:
a chattering or flighty, light-headed person.
an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.
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2 [uh-pos-truh-fee] ,
noun Rhetoric.
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?”

1525–35; < Late Latin < Greek apostrophḗ a turning away, equivalent to apostroph- (verbid of apostréphein; see apostrophe1) + noun suffix

ap·os·troph·ic [ap-uh-strof-ik, -stroh-fik] , adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.
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World English Dictionary
apostrophe1 (əˈpɒstrəfɪ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
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
[C17: from Late Latin, from Greek apostrophos mark of elision, from apostrephein to turn away]

apostrophe2 (əˈpɒstrəfɪ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
rhetoric a digression from a discourse, esp an address to an imaginary or absent person or a personification
[C16: from Latin apostrophē, from Greek: a turning away, digression]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1580s, from M.Fr. apostrophe, from L.L. apostrophus, from Gk. 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 usually represents loss of -e- in -es, possessive ending. Greek also used this word for a "turning aside" of an orator in speech to address some individual, a sense first recorded in Eng. 1530s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
apostrophe [(uh-pos-truh-fee)]

A mark (') used with a noun or pronoun to indicate possession (“the student's comment,” “the people's choice”) or in a contraction to show where letters have been left out (isn't, don't, we'll).

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

apostrophe definition

single quote

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Encyclopedia Britannica


a rhetorical device by which a speaker turns from the audience as a whole to address a single person or thing. For example, in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Mark Antony addresses the corpse of Caesar in the speech that begins:O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!Thou art the ruins of the noblest manThat ever lived in the tide of times.Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood

Learn more about apostrophe with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
She turned the apostrophe into a form of mass entertainment.
Please note that names with a space, hyphen, or apostrophe may sort differently.
Including the apostrophe produces results different from excluding it.
Whoops, I meant to type “cousins” with an apostrophe after the s.
Related Words
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