M

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This article is about the letter of the alphabet. For other uses, see M (disambiguation).
Cursive.svg
Circle sheer blue 31.gif
Circle sheer blue 31.gif
Cursive script 'm' and capital 'M'
M cursiva.gif

M (named em /ˈɛm/)[1] is the 13th letter of 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[edit]

The letter 'm' represents the bilabial consonant sound, [m], in the orthography of Latin, as well as in many modern languages. 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 would be described as a syllabic consonant — IPA [m̩].

Related letters and other similar characters[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]

NATO phonetic Morse code
Mike ––
ICS Mike.svg Semaphore Mike.svg ⠍
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille
dots-134

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.

External links[edit]

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