M

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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

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

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

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

Related characters

Ancestors, descendants and siblings

Ligatures and abbreviations

Computing codes

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

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

References

  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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