Apostrophe A*pos"tro*phe, n. [(1) L., fr. Gr. ? a turning away, fr. ? to turn away; ? from + ? to turn. (2) F., fr. L. apostrophus apostrophe, the turning away or omitting of a letter, Gr. ?.] 1. (Rhet.) A figure of speech by which the orator or writer suddenly breaks off from the previous method of his discourse, and addresses, in the second person, some person or thing, absent or present; as, Milton's apostrophe to Light at the beginning of the third book of ``Paradise Lost.'' [1913 Webster]

2. (Gram.) The contraction of a word by the omission of a letter or letters, which omission is marked by the character ['] placed where the letter or letters would have been; as, call'd for called. [1913 Webster]

3. The mark ['] used to denote that a word is contracted (as in ne'er for never, can't for can not), and as a sign of the possessive, singular and plural; as, a boy's hat, boys' hats. In the latter use it originally marked the omission of the letter e. [1913 Webster]

Note: The apostrophe is used to mark the plural of figures and letters; as, two 10's and three a's. It is also employed to mark the close of a quotation. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • apostrophe — Fowler (1926) gave no information on this punctuation mark at the letter A except a cross reference to an entry called ‘possessive puzzles’, which sounds rather more entertaining. He concentrated on a number of difficulties arising from use of… …   Modern English usage

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  • apostrophe — APOSTROPHE. s. fém. Figure de Rhétorique, par laquelle on adresse momentanément la parole à des choses ou à des personnes auxquelles ne s adresse pas directement le discours. Ainsi, Et vous braves François qui, etc. Affreux déserts, confidens de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Apostrophe — ist eine Redefigur, welche am meisten in der Beredtsamkeit vorkommmt. Wenn der Redner, um seinem Ausdrucke mehr Lebendigkeit zu geben, plötzlich eine abwesende Person oder einen leblosen Gegenstand anredet, gleichsam als wenn jene gegenwärtig… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • apostrophé — apostrophé, ée (a po stro fé, fée) part. passé. Durement apostrophé par son adversaire …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • apostrophe — (n.) mark indicating omitted letter, 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,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • apostrophe — APOSTROPHE. s. fem. Terme dogmatique, figure de Rhetorique, par laquelle on adresse la parole à quelque personne, ou à quelque chose, comme si c estoit une personne. Et vous braves François, qui &c. Affreux deserts confidents de mes peines!… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • apostrophe — apostrophe1 [ə päs′trə fē] n. [L < Gr apostrophē, a turning away from the audience to address one person < apostrephein < apo , from + strephein, to turn: see STROPHE] words addressed to a person or thing, whether absent or present,… …   English World dictionary

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