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- M (named em /Ã‹ÂˆÃ‰Â›m/) is the thirteenth letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet. The letter M is derived from the Phoenician Mem, via the Greek Mu (ÃŽÂœ,Â ÃŽÂ¼). Semitic Mem probably originally pictured water. It is known[dubious Ã¢Â€Â“ discuss] that Semitic people working in Egypt c.Â 2000Â BC borrowed a hieroglyph for "water" that was first used for an alveolar nasal (/n/), because of the Egyptian word for water, n-t. This same symbol became used for /m/ in Semitic, because the word for water began with that sound.