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Writing cursive forms of M
M (named em ) is the 13th letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
The letter M is derived from the Phoenician Mem, via the Greek Mu (Μ, μ). Semitic Mem probably originally pictured water. It is thought that Semitic people working in Egypt c. 2000 BC borrowed a hieroglyph for "water" that was first used for an alveolar nasal (/n/), because of the Egyptian word for water, n-t. This same symbol became used for /m/ in Semitic, because the word for water began with that sound.
Use in writing systems
The letter 〈m〉 represents the bilabial nasal consonant sound [m] in the orthography of Latin as well as in that of many modern languages, and also in the International Phonetic Alphabet. In English, the Oxford English Dictionary (first edition) says that 〈m〉 is sometimes a vowel in words like spasm and in the suffix -ism. In modern terminology, this is described as a syllabic consonant (IPA [m̩]).
The Roman numeral Ⅿ represents the number 1000, though it was not used in Roman times.
Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets
- 𐤌 : Semitic letter Mem, from which the following symbols originally derive
- Μ μ : Greek letter Mu, from which M derives
- Ⲙ ⲙ : Coptic letter Me, which derives from Greek Mu
- М м : Cyrillic letter Em, also derived from Mu
- 𐌌 : Old Italic M, which derives from Greek Mu, and is the ancestor of modern Latin M
- ᛗ : Runic letter Mannaz, which derives from old Italic M
- 𐌼 : Gothic letter manna, which derives from Greek Mu
Ligatures and abbreviations
||LATIN CAPITAL LETTER M
|| LATIN SMALL LETTER M
|Numeric character reference
- 1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.
- Media related to M at Wikimedia Commons
- The dictionary definition of M at Wiktionary
- The dictionary definition of m at Wiktionary