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Phonemic representationm
Position in alphabet13
Numerical value40
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

Mem (also spelled Meem, Meme, or Mim) is the thirteenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Mēm Phoenician mem.svg, Hebrew Mēm מ, Aramaic Mem Mem.svg, Syriac Mīm ܡܡ, and Arabic Mīm م. Its value is [m].

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Mu (Μ), Etruscan M, Latin M, and Cyrillic М.


Mem is believed to derive from the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for water,


which had been simplified by the Phoenicians and named after their word for “water”, mem (Phoenician mem.png), ultimately coming from Proto-Semitic *maʾ-/*may-.

Arabic mīm[edit]

The letter is named mīm, and is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: م ـم ـمـ مـ

Some examples on its uses in Modern Standard Arabic:

Mīm is used in the creation of ism words (i.e. nouns and adjectives; they are treated fundamentally the same in Arabic grammar). Specifically, mīm is used in the creation of the masdar (verbal noun) of Stem III verbs (the masdar of verbs on the pattern fāʿala is mufāʿala), of subject and object nouns for verbs of Stems II-X (using the example of Stem II, subject nouns — called fāʿil words because of their form in Stem I — are mufaʿʿil, and object nouns — called mafʿūl also because of their Stem I form — take the form mufaʿʿal). Place-nouns are also created with mīm; the pattern mafʿal is used to create maktab "office" from the triliteral k-t-b (to write) and maṣnaʿ "factory" from ṣ-n-ʿ (to make).

Hebrew Mem[edit]

Orthographic variants of non-final form
Various print fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
מ מ מ Hebrew letter Mem handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Mem-nonfinal Rashi.png

Hebrew spelling: מֵם

Hebrew pronunciation[edit]

Mem represents a bilabial nasal [m].

Variations on written form/pronunciation[edit]

Orthographic variants of final form
Various Print Fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ם ם ם Hebrew letter Mem-final handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Mem-final Rashi.png

In Hebrew, Mem, like Kaph, Nun, Pe, and Tzadi, has a final form, used at the end of words: its shape changes from מ‬ to ם‬.


In gematria, Mem represents the number 40 in both the Standard and Mispar Gadol Methods of Gematria; However, (mem sofit) final mem's value is 40 in the Standard Method and 600 in the Mispar Gadol method. The Standard Method adds the values of Tav and Resh (400+200) to denote the value of mem sofit.

In the Sefer Yetzirah, the letter Mem is King over Water, Formed Earth in the Universe, Cold in the Year, and the Belly in the Soul.

As an abbreviation, it stands for metre. In the Israeli army it can also stand for mefaked, commander. In Hebrew religious texts, it can stand for the name of God Makom, the Place.

Mem and Tarot[edit]

Mem is associated with The Hanged Man (Atu XII), the element of water and the path between Geburah and Hod on the Tree of Life.

Character encodings[edit]

Character מ ם م ܡ
Unicode name Hebrew Letter Mem Hebrew Letter Final Mem Arabic Letter Meem Syriac Letter Mim Samaritan Letter Mim Hebrew Letter Wide Final Mem Hebrew Letter Mem With Dagesh
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1502 U+05DE 1501 U+05DD 1605 U+0645 1825 U+0721 2060 U+080C 64294 U+FB26 64318 U+FB3E
UTF-8 215 158 D7 9E 215 157 D7 9D 217 133 D9 85 220 161 DC A1 224 160 140 E0 A0 8C 239 172 166 EF AC A6 239 172 190 EF AC BE
Numeric character reference מ מ ם ם م م ܡ ܡ ࠌ ࠌ ﬦ ﬦ מּ מּ
Character 𐎎 𐡌 𐤌
Unicode name Ugaritic Letter Mem Imperial Aramaic Letter Mem Phoenician Letter Mem
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66446 U+1038E 67660 U+1084C 67852 U+1090C
UTF-8 240 144 142 142 F0 90 8E 8E 240 144 161 140 F0 90 A1 8C 240 144 164 140 F0 90 A4 8C
UTF-16 55296 57230 D800 DF8E 55298 56396 D802 DC4C 55298 56588 D802 DD0C
Numeric character reference 𐎎 𐎎 𐡌 𐡌 𐤌 𐤌

See also[edit]

External links[edit]