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This article is about the letter of the Roman alphabet. For the letter of the Cyrillic script (М, м), see Em (Cyrillic). For other uses, see M (disambiguation).
Writing cursive forms of M

M (named em /ˈɛm/)[1] is the 13th letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

History[edit]

Egyptian hieroglyph "n" -Phoenician
Mem
Etruscan M Greek
Mu
Roman M
n
PhoenicianM-01.png EtruscanM-01.svg Mu uc lc.svg Roman M

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[edit]

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]).

Other uses[edit]

The Roman numeral Ⅿ represents the number 1000, though it was not used in Roman times.[2]

Related characters[edit]

Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet[edit]

Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets[edit]

  • 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
        •  : Runic letter Mannaz, which derives from old Italic M
      • 𐌼 : Gothic letter manna, which derives from Greek Mu

Ligatures and abbreviations[edit]

Computing codes[edit]

Character M m
Unicode name LATIN CAPITAL LETTER M     LATIN SMALL LETTER M
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 77 U+004D 109 U+006D
UTF-8 77 4D 109 6D
Numeric character reference M M m m
EBCDIC family 212 D4 148 94
ASCII 1 77 4D 109 6D
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "M" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "em," op. cit.
  2. ^ Gordon, Arthur E. (1983). Illustrated Introduction to Latin Epigraphy. University of California Press. p. 45. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to M at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of M at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of m at Wiktionary

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M&A_Today — Please support Wikipedia.
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