Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The letter m.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Such a measure for 12-point type; a pica.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun The name of the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, usually written simply m or M.
  • noun In printing, the square of any size of type.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Print.) 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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).

Examples

  • Now the Internet pioneer is following an old mantra: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

    Yahoo Decides to Friend Facebook

  • Historically low interest rates — banks love 'em and hate 'em.

    Commercial and Trust Banks Diverge

  • Did you ever hear Reagan say, "We got social conservatives here, we got to make sure, yeah, we'll listen to 'em but then we're not gonna pay much attention to 'em."

    Mitch Daniels and the austerity trap

  • Creed was a gumsucker of about sixty made famous during the war for ripping out Yankees' intestines and force-feeding 'em back to 'em.

    Screaming Woman - Excerpt

  • Bentley College in Massachusetts was the first in the nation to require all its students to have a laptop, but it wasnt long at all before professors started to complain they couldnt live with 'em as much as they couldnt live without 'em.

    Put Away That Laptop: Professors Pull The Plug

  • Ms. MAUREEN MAHONEY: They call 'em like they see 'em.

    Supreme Court Review: Campaign Cash, Controversy

  • As Master of the Foxhounds, Ms. Brown blew her horn; the hounds were let out of a nearby truck and bounded up a hill, Ms. Brown close behind yelling "Get 'em, get 'em, get 'em."

    Writing With the Hounds

  • If you can't beat 'em, perhaps you should join 'em.

    How the Little Guy Can Prey on Executive Pay

  • As Master of the Foxhounds, Ms. Brown blew her horn; the hounds were let out of a nearby truck and bounded up a hill, Ms. Brown close behind yelling "Get 'em, get 'em, get 'em."

    Writing With the Hounds

  • As Master of the Foxhounds, Ms. Brown blew her horn; the hounds were let out of a nearby truck and bounded up a hill, Ms. Brown close behind yelling "Get 'em, get 'em, get 'em."

    Writing With the Hounds

Comments

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

    February 5, 2008

  • What's WeirdNet on about?

    March 29, 2009

  • The dictionary.reference.com 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