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

  • n. The letter m.
  • n. Printing The width of a square or nearly square piece of type, used as a unit of measure for matter set in that size of type.
  • n. Printing Such a measure for 12-point type; a pica.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The name of the Latin script letter M/m.
  • n. A unit of measurement equal to the height of the type in use.
  • pro. them (singular). Gender-neutral third-person singular object pronoun, coordinate with him and her.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The portion of a line formerly occupied by the letter m, then a square type, used as a unit by which to measure the amount of printed matter on a page; the square of the body of a type.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In colloquial speech, the objective plural of he, she, it: equivalent to them.
  • Assimilated form of en- before labials.
  • Assimilated form of en- before labials.
  • n. The name of the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, usually written simply m or M.
  • n. In printing, the square of any size of type.

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

  • n. a quad with a square body
  • n. a linear unit (1/6 inch) used in printing


The typographic em is named after the metal type for the capital M in early printing, whose body was square (the printed letter M is almost never one em in width). (Wiktionary)



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  • The version is longer, nd indicates that WordNet is referring to the printing sense: 'a quad with a square body; "since 'em quad' is hard to distinguish from 'en quad', printers sometimes called it a 'mutton quad'",' i.e. quad as in quadrat.

    March 29, 2009

  • What's WeirdNet on about?

    March 29, 2009

  • A small space in typography, just a bit longer than an "en".

    February 5, 2008