People Are Only Just Finding Out What 'AM' And 'PM' Actually Stand For

Credit: Jirakan Jiherb / Alamy
Something most of us never consider is what certain abbreviations are actually short for.

When it comes to telling the time, AM and PM is just something we say without giving it a second thought, right?

Different from most of the world which uses the 24-hour clock, the US and Canada stick to the 12-hour clock, which involves AM and PM to differentiate depending on what time of day it is.

The definitions (like a lot of the English language) derive from Latin. AM is short for ante meridiem whilst PM is post meridiem.

Translated to a language that we all understand, that means before midday, and after midday respectively.

If Latin isn't your strong point, there is no need to worry, you aren't alone! TikTok is full of people attempting to figure out the meanings.

One user commented: "HOLD UP- AM & PM ACTUALLY MEANT SOMETHING 💀🤚 i thought they were just letters⚰️," and another added: "wait i think pm is past midnight and am is after midnight.. WAIT no".

It's clear that there are many versions of what people believe to be the correct definition, with other TikTok users attempting to figure out the one true meaning.

A third user said: "after-midnight and post-morning ? i think" and a fourth got involved with: "Ante(Before) the Meridian=A.M Post(After) the Meridian=P.M MERIDIAN=The imaginary Vertical lines that connect the North and South pole 👍".

It would appear that the last comment was correct, as Merriam-Webster confirms the definition of Meridian to be: "a great circle on the surface of the earth passing through the poles."

A fifth user defiantly stated: "Amorning and Pnight it's easy guys," which was said with enough confidence that I'm inclined to believe her.

According to Military Time: "The use of AM and PM dates back to 1500 B.C. with the invention of the sundial in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians are credited for dividing the day into 24 parts or hours.

"12-hour timekeeping is notated with Noon (12 PM) as the meridian (center) instead of midnight (12 AM) as the sundial would not work in the middle of the night."

There we have it, information that will probably (maybe) come in handy at some point.

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