Search icon


22nd Feb 2023

Most people are clueless about what A.M and P.M actually stand for

Jack Peat

The modern 12-hour clock dates back to the 16th century

Brits have confessed to being clueless about what A.M and P.M actually stand for, despite often using the abbreviations on a daily basis.

The 12-hour clock was developed from the second millennium BC and reached its modern form in the 16th century AD.

It is now widely used across the world in several English-speaking nations and former British colonies, as well as a few other countries.

But even though most people can tell the time from a young age, many have admitted to not knowing what the terms A.M and P.M stand for.

Compared to abbreviations like ‘yd’ for yard and ‘a/c’ for air conditioning, the terms aren’t as straightforward as you might think.

Some people believe they stand for “after midnight” or “past midday,” but that isn’t actually true.

In fact, like many words and phrases in the English language, a.m. is short for a Latin phrase, “ante meridiem” (or “before midday”), while p.m. is short for “post meridiem” (or “after midday”).

So there it is!

Meanwhile, in other shocking news, new polling has revealed a similarly shocking lack of historical knowledge in Britain.

A third of Brits have no idea Sir Winston Churchill was Prime Minister during World War II, according to research.

The poll of 2,000 adults found their knowledge of the conflict is lacking – despite 48 per cent believing it’s important ‘everyone’ has a good understanding of this pivotal event.

But 37 per cent have no idea when World War II took place, while 47 per cent don’t know Hitler’s invasion of Poland effectively started it and led to an estimated 35 to 60 million casualties globally.

And 38 per cent are unsure which countries ultimately emerged victorious.

Oh dear!

Related links: