In an article I tried to understand (the german understanding) of:

(...) we’re outside the part of C where the standard Dirichlet series actually converges. But lo’ we can ask what’s the Ramanujan summation (...)

Here the interjection lo' got my interest. I found, for instance lo and behold in leo.org and thus I think I understand the meaning here, too.

But is there some root of that interjection (semantic, etymological,...)? I mean, the author has added an apostrophe so something should be behind it; Leo.org does not help here.

  • Related: How to use “lo and behold” expression. – RegDwigнt Apr 11 '11 at 15:11
  • @JSBangs: Hi, thanks for the corrections (my written english has become even worse than my oral english...) – Gottfried Helms Apr 11 '11 at 15:31
  • @Gottfried: What do you mean by german understanding? Did you mean German or germane? – Jimi Oke Apr 11 '11 at 16:24
  • @Jimi: "German", sorry. (Would "germane" mean something meaningful here, btw?) – Gottfried Helms Apr 11 '11 at 16:31
  • 2
    @Gottfried Helms, germane means relevant to the question/discussion. So here, your name being Gottfried is germane to the question of whether you meant germane or German ! – mgb Apr 11 '11 at 18:58

I have never seen it with an apostrophe. I'm guessing the author is under the impression that it is short for "look!". It isn't

According to the OED, in Middle English there are two distinct words "lo" or "loo" which have fallen together; one of them is indeed derived from a form of "look", but the other "lá, an exclamation indicating surprise, grief, or joy".

  • Isn't "loo" a synonym of toilet as well? :D – Alenanno Apr 11 '11 at 22:50

From TheFreeOnlineDictionary:

lo Used to attract attention or show surprise.

You don't need the apostrophe. In fact, don't use it. you can use an exclamation point, however, even in the middle of a sentence.


In older English usage you will also find the word lo used with other conjunctions such as and, as in the expression, "And lo, there was...".

  • “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, ... And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone ...." - From the Book of Luke in The New Testament. – user85332 Jul 17 '14 at 3:51

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