M ( /ˈɛm/; named em) is the thirteenth letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.
The letter M is derived from the Phoenician Mem, via the Greek Mu (Μ, μ). Semitic Mem probably originally pictured water. It is known 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 their word for water began with that sound.
The letter M represents the bilabial consonant sound, [m], in Classical languages as well as the modern languages. 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]
Codes for computing
In Unicode the capital M is codepoint U+004D and the lower case m is U+006D.
The ASCII code for capital M is 77 and for lowercase m is 109; or in binary 01001101 and 01101101, correspondingly.
The EBCDIC code for capital M is 212 and for lowercase m is 148.
The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "M" and "m" for upper and lower case respectively.
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