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An apostrophe is a punctuation mark that primarily serves to indicate either grammatical possession or the contraction of two words. It can also sometimes be used to pluralize irregular nouns, such as single letters, abbreviations, and single-digit numbers.
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see punctuationpunctuation
[Lat.,=point], the use of special signs in writing to clarify how words are used; the term also refers to the signs themselves. In every language, besides the sounds of the words that are strung together there are other features, such as tone, accent, and pauses,
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; abbreviationabbreviation,
in writing, arbitrary shortening of a word, usually by cutting off letters from the end, as in U.S. and Gen. (General). Contraction serves the same purpose but is understood strictly to be the shortening of a word by cutting out letters in the middle, the omission
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figure of speech in which an absent person, a personified inanimate being, or an abstraction is addressed as though present. The term is derived from a Greek word meaning "a turning away," and this sense is maintained when a narrative or dramatic thread is broken in order to digress by speaking directly to someone not there, e.g., "Envy, be silent and attend!"—Alexander Pope, "On a Certain Lady at Court."
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



comma written above the line, used in writing for various functions: (1) In French, Italian, English, and other languages the apostrophe is used to indicate the omission of a vowel (the French I’homme instead of le homme, the English “don’t” instead of “do not,” and so on).

(2) In the orthography of the Nenets language it is used to indicate glottal stops.

(3) The apostrophe is used in transcription to convey glottal stops (in Semitic and other languages), to indicate soft consonants, and so on.

(4) In Russian writing it is used in places where foreign languages use apostrophes in proper names (Jeanne d’Arc, O’Casey); in the 1920’s and 1930’s the apostrophe was also used in place of the “hard sign” Ъ (pod’ezd instead of podЪezd).



a word or group of words naming the person or object to which speech is addressed. Apostrophe may be used within or outside a sentence. It is not bound grammatically to the other parts of a sentence. Apostrophe is widely used in literary language to convey dialogue. For example:

(Famusov:) “Sergei Sergeich, can this be you!”

A. S. Griboedov, Woe From Wit

It is also used in the speech of the narrator to address an individual. For example:

“And you, exile,” I thought, “weep on your vast, free steppes.”

M. Iu. Lermontov, Bela

Or it may be used to address an inanimate object:

“Loosen up, shoulder! Swing, arm!

You, wind, blow in the face from afternoon on!”

A. V. Kol’tsov, “The Mower”

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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References in periodicals archive ?
In the canonical dramatic monologues, critics have consistently claimed, what is at stake in the auditor-function is the speaker's linguistic power, whether it is the power to communicate with a present auditor (Mermin), the power to command absent ones through apostrophic address (Shaw), or the power to affect, even transform, the auditors internal to the poem and thereby the speaker's self or some larger situation (Pearsall).
In the context of Disneyland's landscape of reassurance, with its ordered disposition of things, Banksy's Guantanamo figure instantiates a breach that imports the evils of the outside world into the quarantined space of the entertainment theme park, disrupting the seamless narrative fabric of reassurance; simultaneously, this apostrophic figure demands that points of connection be established between this quarantined and controlled space, the internal and effaced world upon which the park was built and now stands, and the external world quarantined by the park's berms.
The "O" of the apostrophic ode is, in Jackson's argument, the generic address par excellence of lyric overhearing.
The "No" beginning the sestet decisively cuts off a relationship between the star and speaker--or, rather, it admits that no relationship exists, that none was ever possible despite the assumption of this possibility in the apostrophic address.
The various uses of the second person in fiction - common and unusual - will not coalesce into unmistakable groups, but rather will range between a dialogic pole (total reversibility possible, although not necessarily realized) and an apostrophic pole (where, the linguistic markers of dialogue notwithstanding, communication can flow only in a single direction).
But Hayden's careful deployment of the poem's narrator and of its lyrical, apostrophic mode unveil the ways in which recognition remains a central trope in the poem.
The question of prognosis or mockery is not only a matter of "reading" the signs in the landscape as it first appears, but also a matter of the landscape's "response" to Victor's apostrophic questions.
In particular, the apostrophic structure makes it possible to unfold a meditation in which the male speaker imagines himself transforming into the female saint with a literalness that differentiates the poem from related moments in Southwell's literature.
And it was an annual occurrence, which meant that the habits kept coming back--that seemed truer to my experience.) Once I had that line, though, I realized that the opening had changed from being apostrophic to being more of an announcement of subject.
This is the discourse function that I shall label "double deixis." To anticipate, in some instances at least, O'Brien's textual you functions neither as a coded reference to an "I" (a fictional protagonist) or to an indefinite "one" (Laberge, Laberge and Sankoff) nor as a term of (horizontal) address in the fictional world built up by the novel nor yet as a vehicle for apostrophic, vertical address to the reader.
Mark Smith's "Apostrophe, or the Lyric Art of Turning Away" analyzes Whitman's apostrophic incantation in the poem, "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking." (2) Chanita Goodblatt's "Walt Whitman and Uri Zvi Greenberg: Voice and Dialogue, Apostrophe and Discourse" compares Whitman's apostrophic address to that of the Israeli poet.
Turning towards the hills in a frustrated apostrophic address, the speaker looks to what remains of the natural landscape, seeking reassurance in the face of such an altered place.