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What A.M and P.M stands for?

Growing up you might have been told that a.m. stands for after midnight and p.m. stands for after midday. Well you've been lied to... sort of. I search the internet for questions that we all want answers to and I answer them. Today's question is, "What does am and pm stand for?"

 If you live in America or Canada and use the 12 hour clock instead of the globally more popular 24 hour clock then you've been saying a.m. and p.m. pretty much your whole life and you've probably been told, most likely by someone that you trusted, they stand for all kinds of things like after midnight or previously morning for example which I now know is not true. 

In reality a.m. stands for ante meridian which is Latin for before midday. And p.m. stands for post meridian which is also Latin and stands for after midday. And even though it's not really common to use these days 12 noon also has an abbreviation that you can use if you're feeling adventurous...M. The M stands for meridies in Latin which translates to noon. 

So let's say for example you're texting someone for lunch you would say, "let's meet at 12 M" Chances are they would probably reply with something along the lines of, "huh? Why are we meeting at midnight?" 

So because it's not used commonly these days maybe it's not the best idea to use "M" after all.The need for a.m and p.m. is generated by the 12 hour clock as a means to tell the difference between repeating 12 digits also known as the double 12 system. And since we're talking about 12, let's talk about 12:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Right now by my local time it is 11:59 p.m. so what I'm gonna do with them and godhead and freeze time... and that takes us to 12 and... one second is way too far... there we go. 

This moment right now at exactly 12 o'clock some people think it's a.m. but really it's not. Back to real time please. Apparently referring to 12 noon as pm or 12 midnight as a.m. are technically wrong.Saying a.m. or p.m. at the exact moment of 12 would suggest that twelve is anti or post meridian which in fact, it's not. 

But if your computer clock is set to 12 hour version at 12 noon and at 12 midnight you can stare at it and watch it change and as you do you're going to see a change from a.m. to p.m. or p.m. to a.m. but it's OK because the exact moment that 11:59 changes to 12 the instant 12 has already passed so it's okay for your computer to say a.m. or p.m. because it's not stuck at the exact instance of 12. 

Since you and I are humans and not computers the correct way to say it is 12 noon or 12 midnight since you're talking about the exact instant that one day turns into the next. But of course obviously you can still say 12 in the afternoon or 12 at night and people are still gonna know what you're talking about. 

But if you really want to make sure that your time is accurate you can use the form of telling time that is the most popular around the globe, the 24 hour clock. This method of keeping time is actually safer because it eliminates confusion for example that whole 12 midnight 12 noon thing that we just went through would be completely eliminated if you replaced one 12 with 12:00 and you replace the other 12 with 24:00. 

It would be extremely clear what time that you meant. Because it eliminates confusion the 24 hour clock is used in places where time is the most sensitive. Militarizes use it, hospitals use it, they use it in computing,astronomers use it... industries like that. 

Out of curiosity I would like to know what method of time you use if you can leave that down on the comments below and if you have a question you want answered you can also leave that in the comments below, you can tweet it to me or you can leave it on Facebook and I'll see what I can do. If you enjoyed this article please share with anybody you know to let them know what time it is. Thank you so much for reading, I'll see you next time!

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