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M


M (named em /ˈɛm/) is the thirteenth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

The letter M is derived from the Phoenician Mem, via the Greek Mu (Μ, μ). Semitic Mem is most likely derived from a "Proto-Sinaitic" (Bronze Age) adoption of the "water" ideogram in Egyptian writing. The Egyptian sign had the acrophonic value /n/, from the Egyptian word for "water", nt; the adoption as the Semitic letter for /m/ was presumably also on acrophonic grounds, from the Semitic word for "water", .

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]).


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

1Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

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