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
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 15:11
  • @JSBangs: Hi, thanks for the corrections (my written english has become even worse than my oral english...) Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 15:31
  • @Gottfried: What do you mean by german understanding? Did you mean German or germane?
    – Jimi Oke
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 16:24
  • @Jimi: "German", sorry. (Would "germane" mean something meaningful here, btw?) Commented Apr 11, 2011 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
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 18:58

3 Answers 3


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
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 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.

  • (I'm sure there's actually a question here about it being OK to use the exclamation point in the middle of a sentence if you search.)
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 9:56

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
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 3:51

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