Settling the Debate: What Does A.M. and P.M. Actually Mean?
There are certain words and acronyms around us that we just take at face value. We don't bother to look up what they mean, we just say them and that's that.
You shouldn't be surprised that most people, when asked, do not know what A.M. and P.M. actually stand for. I asked a couple of people around the studio if they knew the meaning and they said, "post morning" or "Pacific" or "Atlantic". Sorry, crew. All wrong.
Here is the correct meaning of A.M. and P.M. and the history behind the meaning.
Basically, A.M. means ante meridiem. P.M. means post meridiem. The Latin term meridiem deals with the meridian. That's the invisible line that cuts the earth in half.
Essentially, A.M. is after midnight, but before noon. P.M. is after noon, but before midnight. That strictly on a 12 hour clock.
Many people argue that we should universally adopt the military clock, which is used widely around the world. Only some English speaking countries, like America, use the 12 hour clock. I guess it depends on what you grew up using because if I tried to use a military clock, it would take me a LONG while to get used to it.
This topic got me thinking; what other abbreviations and acronyms do we use that we have no clue what they mean? So, I did some research and learned quite a bit. This website has 20 commonly used abbreviations that we use everyday, but don't know what they mean. Did you know R.S.V.P. is french?!
Here's some more terms that we use, but just dont question their meaning:
- i.e. - that means id est, which is Latin for "that is" or "this to say", if you want to say something more clearly. For example, I was born in November, i.e. the 4th.
- I.Q. & E.Q. - I.Q. is the number used to define how smart someone is, but it stands for Intelligence Quotient. E.Q. stands for Emotional Quotient, aka emotional intelligence.
- SIM - The little piece of technology that holds all your phone's secrets means Subscriber Identity Module.
We learn something new every day.