em, m

The words em, m sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do em, m sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: em, m are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Printing 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.

  2. :: noun

    The letter m.

  3. :: noun

    Printing Such a measure for 12-point type; a pica.

  1. :: noun

    The 13th letter of the modern English alphabet.

  2. :: noun

    Any of the speech sounds represented by the letter m.

  3. :: noun

    The 13th in a series.

  4. :: noun

    Something shaped like the letter M.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition and Wordnik.

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About Homophones

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.

If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").