Definition of apostrophe noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈpɒstrəfi//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈpɑːstrəfi//
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  1. 1the mark ( ’ ) used to show that one or more letters or numbers have been left out, as in she’s for she is and ’63 for 1963 See related entries: Punctuation
  2. 2the mark ( ’ ) used before or after the letter ‘s’ to show that something belongs to somebody, as in Sam’s watch and the horses’ tails See related entries: Punctuation
  3. 3the mark ( ’ ) used before the letter ‘s’ to show the plural of a letter or number, as in How many 3’s are there in 9? and There are two m’s in ‘comma’. See related entries: Punctuation
  4. Word Originmid 16th cent. (denoting the omission of one or more letters): via late Latin, from Greek apostrophos ‘accent of elision’ (showing a certain part of a word to be left out when pronouncing it), from apostrephein ‘turn away’, from apo ‘from’ + strephein ‘to turn’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: apostrophe