Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The 13th letter of the modern English alphabet.
  • n. Any of the speech sounds represented by the letter m.
  • n. The 13th in a series.
  • n. Something shaped like the letter M.
  • abbr. Grammar masculine
  • abbr. Physics mass
  • abbr. meter (measurement)
  • abbr. minute
  • abbr. Physics modulus

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The thirteenth letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.
  • n. meter (metre), the unit of length in the International System of Units
  • n. milli-
  • n. used in the International Phonetic Alphabet and in several romanization systems of non-Latin scripts to represent the bilabial nasal (IPA: /m/), including Cyrillic м (m, "em"), the beginning of various kana including ま (ma), and Korean jamo ㅁ (m, "mieum").
  • n. mass
  • n. cardinal number one thousand (1000)
  • n. The thirteenth letter of the English alphabet, called em and written in the Latin script.
  • n. The ordinal number thirteenth, derived from this letter of the English alphabet, called em and written in the Latin script.
  • abbr. metre
  • abbr. masculine
  • abbr. mile
  • abbr. milli
  • abbr. million
  • abbr. make

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • M, the thirteenth letter of the English alphabet, is a vocal consonant, and from the manner of its formation, is called the labio-nasal consonant. See Guide to Pronunciation, §§ 178-180, 242.
  • As a numeral, M stands for one thousand, both in English and Latin.
  • n. A quadrat, the face or top of which is a perfect square; also, the size of such a square in any given size of type, used as the unit of measurement for that type: 500 m's of pica would be a piece of matter whose length and breadth in pica m's multiplied together produce that number.
  • n. A brand or stigma, having the shape of an M, formerly impressed on one convicted of manslaughter and admitted to the benefit of clergy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • The thirteenth letter and tenth consonant in the English alphabet.
  • As a numeral, in the Roman system, M denotes 1,000. With a dash or stroke over it (M), it stands for a thousand times a thousand, or 1,000,000.
  • As a symbol
  • In the mnemonic words of logic (see mood), m indicates a transposition (metathesis) of the premises in the reduction.
  • Formerly, M was a brand impressed on one convicted of manslaughter and admitted to the benefit of clergy.
  • As an abbreviation
  • In titles, M. stands for Magister or Master, as in A. M.; for Medicinæ or Medicine, as in M. D.; or for Member, as in M. C, member of Congress, and M. P., member of Parliament.
  • In mech., m. stands for mass.
  • In dental formulæ, in zoöl., m. stands for molar, and dm. for deciduous molar.
  • In mathematics, M or μ stands for modulus; in higher geom., m or μ for the degree of a curve.
  • In astronomy and metrology, m. stands for minute (of time), and for meter; mm. for millimeter; and μ for micron or micromillimeter.
  • In musical notation, M. stands for mano (main), mezzo, metronome, and in organ-music for manual. See M. D., M. M., M. S.
  • In a ship's log-book, masculine is an abbreviation of mist.
  • In printing, the square or quadrate of any body of type: more commonly spelled out, em (which see).
  • An abbreviation of Methodist Episcopal; of Mining Engineer: as, John Smith, M. E.; of Middle English: used (as Middle English) in the etymologies of this work.
  • An abbreviation of Major-General.
  • In musical notation, an abbreviation of the French main gauche (left hand), indicating that a note or passage is to be played with the left hand.
  • As a symbol:
  • M denotes magnetic moment: usually printed in old English; a gaseous pressure of the millionth of an atmosphere.
  • μ denotes magnetic permeability or the specific conductivity of any substance for lines of magnetic force; the coefficient of friction.
  • m stands for the intensity or strength of a magnetic pole.
  • m stands for square meters, m for cubic meters.
  • As an abbreviation:
  • In titles, M. stands also for Marquis, Matthew (a book of the New Testament), and Monsieur.
  • In a ship's log-book, masculine is an abbreviation of moderate.
  • In a chart, masculine stands for mud; in meteorology, for mist; in ophthalmol., for myopia.
  • In pharmacy, M. or masculine stands for macerare (macerate), manipulus (a handful), mensura (measure or by measure), minimum (minim), misce (mix), mistura (mixture).
  • In astronomical tables, M. or masculine (abbreviation of L. meridies) indicates meridian or meridional: 12 M. stands for noon. See A. M. and P. M.
  • In astronomy, M. stands for Messier, referring to his catalogue of 103 nebulæ and star-clusters: thus, 51M. or M.51 is the famous whirlpool nebula.
  • M. stands for Monday; M. or masculine, for mile or miles, mill or mills, month or months, moon, muster; m., for married, masculine, middle, minutes, morning, and the Latin mille (a thousand).
  • An abbreviation
  • of Master of Laws;
  • of Master of Literature;
  • of muzzle-loading.
  • n. See A. M. .
  • n. An abbreviation of Member of Congress.
  • n. An abbreviation of the Latin Medicinæ Doctor, Doctor of Medicine (see doctor, 2); in musical notation, of mano destra (Italian) or main droite (French), ‘right hand,’ indicating a passage to be performed by the right hand.
  • n. An abbreviation of Middle Latin or Medieval Latin.
  • n. An abbreviation of Maelzel's metronome. See metronome.
  • n. An abbreviation of Member of Parliament.
  • n. In music, an abbreviation of mano sinistra, ‘the left hand,’ noting a note or passage to be played with the left hand.
  • n. An abbreviation of the Latin Medicinæ Baccalaureus, Bachelor of Medicine;
  • n. of the Latin Musicæ Baccalaureus, Bachelor of Music;
  • n. of “mark of the beast,” in allusion to the popular belief that the garment described below smacked of popery.
  • n. An abbreviation of the Latin Magister Chirurgiæ, Master of Surgery;
  • n. of Master of Ceremonies.
  • n. An abbreviation of Middle Dutch;
  • n. of months (after) date.
  • n. An abbreviation of Master of Engineering;
  • n. of Mechanical Engineer;
  • n. of Military Engineer;
  • n. of Most Excellent.
  • n. An abbreviation
  • n. of Latin Musicæ Graduatus. Graduate of Music.
  • n. Abbreviations of Mœsogothic.
  • n. An abbreviation
  • n. of Master of Horticulture;
  • n. of Most Honorable.
  • n. An abbreviation of Master of Oratory.
  • n. An abbreviation
  • n. of Master of Painting;
  • n. of man-power;
  • n. of Member of Police;
  • n. of Methodist Protestant;
  • n. of Metropolitan Police;
  • n. of the Latin millia passuum, a thousand paces: the Roman mile;
  • n. of Municipal Police.
  • n. An abbreviation of Master of the Rolls.
  • n. An abbreviation of Master of Science;
  • n. of Master of Surgery;
  • n. of month's sight;
  • n. of Latin Memoriæ Sacrum, sacred to the memory (of, etc.).
  • n. An abbreviation of mean time.
  • n. An abbreviation
  • n. of the Latin Medicus Veterinarius, veterinary physician;
  • n. in music, of the Italian mezza voce, with half the force of the voice;
  • n. in experimental psychology, of mean variation.
  • n. An abbreviation
  • n. of Most Worshipful;
  • n. of Most Worthy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the basic unit of length adopted under the Systeme International d'Unites (approximately 1.094 yards)
  • n. the 13th letter of the Roman alphabet
  • n. concentration measured by the number of moles of solute per liter of solution
  • n. a unit of information equal to 1024 kibibytes or 2^20 (1,048,576) bytes
  • n. a unit of information equal to 1000 kilobytes or 10^6 (1,000,000) bytes
  • adj. denoting a quantity consisting of 1,000 items or units
  • n. the cardinal number that is the product of 10 and 100

Etymologies

Modification of capital letter M, from Ancient Greek letter Μ (M, "Mu"). (Wiktionary)
Various abbreviations (Wiktionary)
From upper case roman numeral M (1000), an alteration of ⋈, from ∞, an alteration of ↀ, an alteration of Ⓧ, from encircling X (the roman numeral for ten) to indicate the hundredth ten. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "I learned from Florey that the Egyptians used a wavelike symbol for water that the Phoenicians adapted and called mem—thus the letter M. I loved the soothing mindlessness of the exercises, particularly seeing the mmmm's break across the page—a tiny, rolling sea."
    —Emily Yoffe, "Dead Letters: Everyone Has Terrible Handwriting These Days," Slate.com, seen here.

    September 12, 2009