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( March 2016)
Writing cursive forms of M
M ( named em ) is the 13th  letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
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 [ in the orthography of Latin as well as in that of many modern m] 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]).
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 M
EBCDIC family 212
ASCII 1 77
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 at Wiktionary M The dictionary definition of at Wiktionary m