its

its
its neuter possessive pronoun; the modern word begins to appear in writing at the end of 16c., from IT (Cf. it) + genitive/possessive ending 'S (Cf. 's) (q.v.), and "at first commonly written it's, a spelling retained by some to the beginning of the 19c." [OED]. The apostrophe came to be omitted, perhaps because it's already was established as a contraction of it is, or by general habit of omitting apostrophes in personal pronouns (hers, yours, theirs, etc.).
The neuter genitive pronoun in Middle English was his, but the clash between grammatical gender and sexual gender, or else the application of the word to both human and non-human subjects, evidently made users uncomfortable. Restriction of his to the masculine and avoidance of it as a neuter pronoun is evidenced in M.E., and of it and thereof (as in KJV) were used for the neuter possessive. Also, from c.1300, simple it was used as a neuter possessive pronoun. But in literary use, his as a neuter pronoun continued into the 17c.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • its — [ ıts ] determiner *** Its is the possessive form of it. 1. ) belonging or relating to a thing, idea, place, animal, etc. when it has already been mentioned or when it is obvious which one you are referring to: The chair lay on its side. We were… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ITS — ITS, it s or its can mean:* its , the possessive adjective and possessive pronoun form of the personal pronoun it * it s , a contraction of it is or it has * The It s man, a man with torn clothes and unkempt beard who appeared at the beginning of …   Wikipedia

  • its — /its/, pron. the possessive form of it (used as an attributive adjective): The book has lost its jacket. I m sorry about its being so late. [1590 1600; earlier it s, equiv. to IT1 + S1] Usage. While it is possible to use ITS as a predicate… …   Universalium

  • its - it's — ◊ its Its is a possessive determiner. You use its to indicate that something belongs or relates to a thing, place, animal, or child. He discovered the river had lost its beauty. The pig managed to keep its balance. She hoisted the child on her… …   Useful english dictionary

  • its — W1S1 [ıts] determiner [possessive form of it ] [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: it] used to refer to something that belongs to or is connected with a thing, animal, baby etc that has already been mentioned ▪ Salzburg is famous for its beautiful… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • its — /Its/ determiner the possessive form of it: The baby had fallen out of its crib. | I must admit the plan does have its merits …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • its — its, it s Its is the possessive form of it (The cat licked its paws) and it s is a shortened form of it is (It s raining again) or occasionally it has (I don t know if it s come) …   Modern English usage

  • its — ► POSSESSIVE DETERMINER 1) belonging to or associated with a thing previously mentioned or easily identified. 2) belonging to or associated with a child or animal of unspecified sex. USAGE A common error in writing is to confuse the possessive… …   English terms dictionary

  • Its — ([i^]ts), poss. pron. Possessive form of the pronoun it. See {It}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • its / it's —    Its is the possessive form of it, like hers, his, and theirs: The dog licked its foot after stepping in maple syrup.    It s is short for it is , a contraction of those two words: Well, I guess it s [it is] time to wash the dog again …   Confused words

  • its / it's —    Its is the possessive form of it, like hers, his, and theirs: The dog licked its foot after stepping in maple syrup.    It s is short for it is , a contraction of those two words: Well, I guess it s [it is] time to wash the dog again …   Confused words

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