• WordNet 3.6
    • n apostrophe the mark (') used to indicate the omission of one or more letters from a printed word
    • n apostrophe address to an absent or imaginary person
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Apostrophe (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.”
    • Apostrophe (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 .
    • Apostrophe 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.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n apostrophe In rhetoric, a digressive address; the interruption of the course of a speech or writing, in order to address briefly a person or persons (present or absent, real or imaginary) individually or separately; hence, any abrupt interjectional speech. Originally the term was applied only to such an address made to one present.
    • n apostrophe In botany, the arrangement of chlorophyl-granules under the action of direct sunlight (light-apostrophe), and in darkness (dark-apostrophe): in the first case upon the lateral walls of the cells, so that their edges are presented to the light; in the latter, upon the lateral and basal cell-walls: used in distinction from epistrophe (which see).
    • n apostrophe In grammar, the omission of one or more letters in a word.
    • n apostrophe In writing and printing, the sign (') used to indicate such omission. The omission may be of a letter or letters regularly written but not sounded, as in tho' for though, liv'd for lived, aim'd for aimed, etc.; of a letter or letters regularly sounded and written, and omitted only in poetical or colloquial speech, as in o'er for over, don't for do not, etc.; or of a letter regularly sounded but not written, as in the possessives church's, fox's, Jones's, etc., and so formerly often in similar plurals now written in full, as churches, foxes, Joneses. The apostrophe is now extended to all possessives (except of pronouns) as a mere sign of the case, as boy's, lion's, etc., also when the suffix is omitted, as in conscience' sake, and in plural possessives, as boys', lions'; and it is still used in some unusual or peculiar plurals, as many D. D.'s and LL.D.'s, a succession of a's, four 9's, etc.
    • n apostrophe The sign (') used for other purposes, especially, single or double, as a concluding mark of quotation, as in “‘Well done,' said he.” See quotation-mark.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Apostrophe a-pos′trof-e (rhet.) a sudden turning away from the ordinary course of a speech to address some person or object present or absent, explained by Quintilian as addressed to a person present, but extended by modern use to the absent or dead: a mark (') showing the omission of a letter or letters in a word, also a sign of the modern Eng. genitive or possessive case—orig. a mere mark of the dropping of the letter e in writing
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(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.
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. apo, from, and Strophe, a turning.


In literature:

It is an apostrophe meant for no mortal ears, but addressed to the Divinity of the lake!
"Gaspar the Gaucho" by Mayne Reid
But Janet kept her ground, and continued to weep and wail and apostrophize the dead mother, or appeal to the orphan child.
"Cruel As The Grave" by Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth
She was to say a piece, a poem, an apostrophe to a star.
"Bonaventure" by George Washington Cable
Do possessive pronouns take an apostrophe?
"Word Study and English Grammar" by Frederick W. Hamilton
Most of the other possessive pronouns do not require an apostrophe.
"The Century Handbook of Writing" by Garland Greever
Her letters abound in apostrophes to the lost Honora.
"A Book of Sibyls" by Anne Thackeray (Mrs. Richmond Ritchie)
Her next words were plainly an apostrophe to myself.
"The International Spy" by Allen Upward
Joe took the tumbler, and after looking into it for a second or two as though he were mentally apostrophizing it, placed the glass to his lips.
"The Humourous Story of Farmer Bumpkin's Lawsuit" by Richard Harris
In the eighth line there should be no apostrophe in the word "=stars=".
"Writings in the United Amateur, 1915-1922" by Howard Phillips Lovecraft
What eloquent apostrophes have been addressed Russia by her great writers!
"Ivory Apes and Peacocks" by James Huneker
The apostrophe was bold, but not original.
"Nuts and Nutcrackers" by Charles James Lever
I know of no more fitting close to this my view of Jesus, than a quotation from Ernest Renan's Apostrophe to Jesus.
"From Bondage to Liberty in Religion" by George T. Ashley
A number answered to patronymics to which were prefixed the letter O, and an apostrophe.
"The History and Records of the Elephant Club" by Knight Russ Ockside and Q. K. Philander Doesticks
The poem concludes with the poet's apostrophe to King Sebastian.
"The Lusiad" by Luís de Camões
The two new-comers apostrophized him with violence.
"The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 14" by Various
The Man of Law has not a few passages of exclamatory and apostrophical moral and sentimental rhetoric.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 355, May 1845" by Various
A whimsical smile sat round his lips even as they apostrophized the image that looked so gravely on him out of the canvas.
"The Laughing Cavalier" by Baroness Orczy
It is an apostrophe to God and very hard to learn.
"Village Life in America 1852-1872" by Caroline Cowles Richards
During the journey Jacob Voss apostrophized the tenants at labour by their names.
"Bartholomew Sastrow" by Bartholomew Sastrow
It is, of course, Cecilia's voice that has apostrophized him, but oh, portent!
"Alas!" by Rhoda Broughton

In news:

Like all of you, I've spent this long week noticing the glaring disagreement in how various media outlets apply apostrophes to the current situation with Chicago's teachers.
It seems the apostrophe is quite often put where it is not needed.
The Apostrophe from SUPER GRAMMAR by Tony Preciado and Rhode Montijo.
On the misuse of apostrophe's (did your eye just twitch?
Make sure you use punctuation correctly, especially the apostroph'e, the hy-phen and the semi;colon.
Why does the lack of an apostrophe matter.
Tis the season for misplaced apostrophes.
As holiday poems, greetings, and lyrics become commonplace expressions, their apostrophes often get battered or shoved aside.
The day of the move came, and I received a Facebook message from him saying "im sorry" (apparently I didn't even deserve an apostrophe).
It's pink, with pink interior stitching, pink metallic trim, the logo's apostrophe is a heart.
Local historians argue to this day about whether the Harrods Creek community ("Harrod's" Creek before the US Postal Service deleted the nation's apostrophes) takes its name from Capt.
I laughed the whole way, getting caught up on the apostrophe and a lone cone.
Somehow during my lifetime, Hallowe'en, which used to be spelled with an apostrophe, has blown up from a second-tier children's holiday into one of the most celebrated festivals of the American year.
Local historians argue to this day about whether the Harrods Creek community (" Harrod 's" Creek before the US Postal Service deleted the nation's apostrophes) takes its name from Capt.
Unless you're talking about the variety that subs an apostrophe for the 'e.

In science:

IV we will touch the question of “maximality” of the mixed state (from now on, let’s omit the apostrophes) in the context of bosonic channels [19, 20] and their generalized lossy and Gaussian relatives .
Continuous variable private quantum channel