There are 2 definitions of apostrophe in English:

apostrophe1

Line breaks: apos|tro¦phe
Pronunciation: /əˈpɒstrəfi
 
/

noun

A punctuation mark (’) used to indicate either possession (e.g. Harrys book; boyscoats) or the omission of letters or numbers (e.g. cant; hes; 1 Jan.99).
More example sentences
  • The playwrights' experimental use of English (including the absence of capital letters, apostrophes, punctuation, etc.) is one way in which they resist oppression.
  • Still others prefer a middle option that keeps the apostrophe for omission and elision but drops it for plurality and possession.
  • When the possessor is single we indicate possession by using an apostrophe followed by the letter ‘s’ - ‘The man's coat’.

Origin

mid 16th century (denoting the omission of one or more letters): via late Latin, from Greek apostrophos 'accent of elision', from apostrephein 'turn away', from apo 'from' + strephein 'to turn'.

Usage

Many people are uncertain when to use an apostrophe, and this confusion is probably increased by the fact that it is often omitted in company names (e.g. Barclays Bank). The apostrophe should be used when indicating possession (Sue’s cat) or the omission of letters or numbers (he’s gone, 1 Jan.09). It should not be used in forming the plural of ordinary words, as in apple’s and pear’s or I saw two dog’s, or in possessive pronouns such as hers, yours, or theirs. See also its (usage).

Definition of apostrophe in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day apposite
Pronunciation: ˈapəzit
adjective
apt in the circumstances or relation to something

There are 2 definitions of apostrophe in English:

apostrophe2

Line breaks: apos|tro¦phe
Pronunciation: /əˈpɒstrəfi
 
/

noun

Rhetoric
An exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person (typically one who is dead or absent) or thing (typically one that is personified).
More example sentences
  • To stress apostrophe, personification, prosopopoeia, and hyperbole is to join the theorists who through the ages have emphasized what distinguishes the lyric from other speech acts, what makes it the most literary of forms.
  • Let us note, first of all, that hyperbole and apostrophe are the forms of language not only most agreeable to it but also most necessary.
  • What better trope for the undertaking than the apostrophe?

Origin

mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek apostrophē 'turning away', from apostrephein 'turn away' (see apostrophe1).

Definition of apostrophe in: