Visit the forum if you have a language query!


Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
Benjamin Franklin
Jump to: navigation, search



Etymology 1



’s (clitic)

  1. Contracted form of is.
    The dog’s running after me!
  2. Contracted form of has.
    The dog’s been chasing the mail carrier again.
  3. Contracted form of us found in the formula let’s used to form first-person plural imperatives.
    What are you guys waiting for? Let’s go!
  4. (informal) Contracted form of does.
    What’s he do for a living?
  5. (nonstandard) Contracted form of as in its nonstandard use as a relative pronoun.
    All’s he wanted was to go home.

Etymology 2

Representing the Old English masculine and neuter genitive singular ending -es.



  1. Possessive marker, indicating than an object belongs to the noun or (informally) noun phrase bearing the marker.
    The cat bit the dog’s tail and ran.
    The cat bit the dog with the shaggy fur’s tail and ran.
  2. (idiomatic) In the absence of a specified object, used to indicate “the house/place/establishment of”.
    We’re going to Luigi’s for dinner tonight. — that is, “Luigi’s house” or “Luigi’s restaurant”
    I'm nipping to the butcher’s for a steak.
Usage notes
This section does not cite its references or sources.
You can help Wiktionary verify this information by introducing appropriate citations.

Usage with words ending in “s” varies. The final “s” is dropped after regular plurals:

the dog’s tail but the dogs’ tails.

It can also be dropped after words ending in “s”, depending on one’s pronunciation. (See the rule of thumb below.)

St. James’s or St. James’

Irregular plurals with endings other than “s” always take ’s.

the children’s voices

Possessives can generally be recast using of the, and this may be advisable if the contraction seems awkward or ambiguous (which is often the case in speech).

the tails of the dogs

Traditionally, the possessives of Biblical and classical names, such as Jesus and Hercules, are written without a final “s”.

Jesus’ disciples

This may or may not apply to the Spanish given name Jesus.

This is Jesus Ramirez, and this is Jesus’s wife.

When referring to possessions of multiple people, the strictly correct form is with the possessive of each person, as in “Jack’s and Jill’s pails”. It is common to treat the pair of names as a noun phrase and to form its possessive instead, using only one ’s, as in “Jack and Jill’s pails”.


Etymology 3

Equivalent to -s, with arbitrary use of apostrophe.



  1. (usage problem) Used to form the plurals of numerals, letters, some abbreviations and some nouns, usually because the omission of an apostrophe would make the meaning unclear or ambiguous.
    There are four 3’s in my phone number.
    “Banana” has three a’s and one b. (apostrophe "s" used so that the plural of “a” is not confused with the word “as”)
    You can buy CD’s in that shop.
    These are the do’s and don’ts. (apostrophe "s" used as “dos” may be misread)
  2. (proscribed) Used to form the plural of nouns that correctly take just an "s" in the plural. See greengrocer’s apostrophe.
    Apple’s 50p a pound
Usage notes

The use of ’s to form plurals of initialisms or numerals is not recommended by some authorities, except when the meaning would otherwise be unclear.

The use of the apostrophe in any other plural (as in “apple’s”) — the so-called “greengrocer’s apostrophe” — is incorrect.


See -s

See also



’s; clitic form of des, genitive of masculine and neuter article singular de and het

  1. Used in ’s morgens, ’s middags, ’s avonds, ’s nachts.
  2. Used in place names such as 's-Gravenhage and 's-Hertogenbosch.
  3. Used to construct the following kind of noun phrase: 's werelds + {superlative_adjective} + {noun}
    ’s werelds beste reisbestemming — the world's best travel destination
    's werelds mooiste zeereis — the world's most beautiful sea voyage
  4. Used in 's zomers and 's winters.


  1. Used to form the plural form of nouns ending in certain vowels; the apostrophe actually stands for an elided vowel.
    fotofoto's (instead of fotoos)
    taxitaxi's (instead of taxies)
  2. Used to form the genitive form of proper nouns which end in certain vowels; the apostrophe actually stands for an elided vowel.
    AnnaAnna's (instead of Annaas)

Elsewhere on the web