People are only just realising what AM and PM mean - and many guessed wrong

444     0
People were confused about the meaning of AM and PM (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images/Image Source)
People were confused about the meaning of AM and PM (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images/Image Source)

If you've spent years thinking you know what AM and PM mean, you could be wrong. Here's why.

People have been left amazed after learning the history behind the abbreviations. While it should not come as a shock the terms are used to refer to the morning and the afternoon, you might be surprised to realise AM does not stand for 'after midnight', while PM isn't quite the same as 'past morning'.

Even if you're not, lots of social media users were stunned to discover this fact after one inquisitive woman questioned what the two terms mean. In a post to TikTok, @amayaclarke08 asked: "What does AM or PM actually stand for?"

In response, lots of viewers were quick to admit they did not know. Others tried to guess the answer, but this is turn revealed several weren't quite sure of the origins.

Replying to the English teen's video, which gained thousands of views, one commenter guessed: "At morning and past morning." A second joked: " Andy Murray and post malone." And several commenters confidently answered: "After midnight past midday."

Viral sausage roll debate leaves Brits confused about how to order at Greggs eridzriquhikeinvViral sausage roll debate leaves Brits confused about how to order at Greggs

However, the terms mean 'before midday' and 'after midday'. As Royal Museums Greenwich, the home of Greenwich Mean Time, explains: "am stands for the Latin ante meridiem, translating to 'before midday'. This is the time before the sun has crossed the meridian. pm stands for post meridiem or 'after midday' – after the sun has crossed the meridian."

It is for this reason you shouldn't call midday 12pm, according to the experts. "At exactly 12 noon, the Sun is at its highest point in the sky and directly over the meridian. It is therefore neither 'ante' (am) nor 'post' (pm) meridiem. At 12 midnight it also neither am nor pm."

So, there you have it. If the Latin behind the abbreviations is news to you, you've likely still been using them as the right time of the day, unless you've been talking about noon or midnight specifically. If you have then don't worry, as it sounds like you probably weren't the only one.

Amber O'Connor

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus