PM Meaning: What Does “PM” Stand for?

Last Updated on November 2, 2023

The concept of “PM” is a widely recognized term in our everyday lives, particularly when it comes to telling time. Stemming from the Latin phrase “post meridiem,” which translates to “after midday,” the abbreviation PM is used to denote the hours that follow noon in the 12-hour clock system. By distinguishing between hours before and after midday, the PM designation reduces ambiguity and ensures effective communication when referring to specific times of the day.

In practice, the 12-hour time system utilizes numbers ranging from 1 to 12, followed by either AM or PM to clearly identify all 24 hours in a day. This method enables individuals to quickly and easily grasp the intended time of day, whether it be early in the morning or late in the evening. Paying attention to these abbreviations significantly assists in maintaining punctuality and accurately interpreting schedules.

Key Takeaways

  • PM refers to the time “after midday” in the 12-hour clock system
  • The abbreviation simplifies communication and eliminates ambiguity in timekeeping
  • The 12-hour time system makes it easier to understand and convey specific times by utilizing AM and PM designations.

PM Meaning

What Does PM Stand For?

PM stands for “post meridiem,” which is Latin for “after noon.” It is used to represent the time between noon and midnight in the 12-hour time system. For example, 5 PM indicates late in the afternoon, while 11 PM is one hour before midnight.

What Does PM Stand For Pin

Origin and Context of PM

The use of “post meridiem” originates from the Latin language to differentiate the two halves of a day. Alongside “ante meridiem” (a.m.), which means “before midday,” PM helps to avoid ambiguity in the 12-hour clock system. A lesser-known abbreviation related to this system is “m”, which stands for “merīdiēs” meaning “midday” or noon.

Related Terms to PM

  • a.m.: An abbreviation for “ante meridiem,” meaning before noon, used to represent the hours from midnight to noon in the 12-hour time system.
  • 12-hour clock: A timekeeping system that divides the day into two periods (a.m. and p.m.), each consisting of 12 hours, to represent all 24 hours of the day.
  • 24-hour clock: Also known as military time, it is a timekeeping system that represents all 24 hours of the day without the need for a.m. or p.m. notations.

PM Examples


In everyday conversations, “PM” refers to Post Meridiem, which is Latin for “after midday.” This relates to the time of day from 12:00 PM (noon) to 11:59 PM (just before midnight). In contrast, “AM” (Ante Meridiem) signifies the hours before noon, extending from 12:00 AM (midnight) to 11:59 AM. In both US and UK English, along with other languages, people use the 12-hour clock system, which includes the abbreviations “AM” and “PM.” For example, they might say, “Let’s meet at 7 PM” to indicate a late evening gathering.


In texting or messaging, “PM” often represents a personal message or private message. This communication is sent directly between two individuals and is not visible to others, unlike public messages on social media platforms. For instance, a Twitter user might see a tweet saying, “DM (Direct Message) or PM me for more information” as an invitation to discuss something privately.

Social Posts

On social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, “PM” is often used with a timestamp to indicate when a post, comment or message was made or received during the post meridiem period. For instance, a user may notice a post made at “3:45 PM” as an afternoon update.

In some cases, “PM” can also stand for Project Manager, Prime Minister, and even Project M (a modification of the Super Smash Bros. game series). However, the context in which the abbreviation appears will determine its meaning.

More About PM Terminology

PM Synonyms

PM, as an abbreviation, has a wide range of meanings across various fields and industries. Here are some common synonyms and their relevance to different domains:

  1. Project Management: In business and technology, PM refers to the discipline of organizing, planning, and managing resources to achieve a specific goal.

Related: PMO

  1. Private Message: In the context of social media and online communication, PM stands for a personal message or direct message sent privately between users.

Other Meanings of PM

Beyond the above synonyms, PM has numerous other meanings, as outlined below:

  • Particulate Matter: In environmental science, PM denotes microscopic solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere, which can adversely impact air quality and human health.
  • Postmaster: In the postal service, PM refers to the person responsible for overseeing a post office.
  • Provost Marshal: In the military, PM can designate the officer in charge of maintaining discipline and overseeing law enforcement.
  • Primeiro-Ministro (Portuguese) and Premier Ministre (French): In politics, PM stands for the head of government in countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Promethium: In chemistry, PM is the symbol for the chemical element promethium, which has an atomic number of 61.

PM is also used in various formats of timekeeping:

  • Periods: Referring to the division of the day into two 12-hour segments – AM (ante meridiem) for the morning and PM (post meridiem) for the afternoon and evening.
  • Military Time: In the 24-hour clock format, PM hours are represented as numbers from 13 to 24.

Other meanings of PM include engineering terms like preventive maintenance, biology-related phrases like plasma membrane, and government-related acronyms like power management. Given its many applications and contexts, it is essential to consider the relevant industry or subject matter when using the abbreviation PM.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does PM stand for in time?

PM stands for “post meridiem,” which is Latin for “after midday.” It is used to represent the time from noon (12:00) to midnight (11:59).

What is the difference between AM and PM?

AM stands for “ante meridiem,” which means “before midday” in Latin. AM represents the time from midnight (12:00) to just before noon (11:59). PM, on the other hand, represents the time from noon to just before midnight. Together, they are used to indicate the two halves of a 12-hour clock.

How does PM relate to the 12-hour clock?

The 12-hour clock system divides the day into two periods: AM, which covers the first 12 hours from midnight to noon, and PM, which covers the second 12 hours from noon to midnight. By using these terms, one can differentiate between morning and afternoon or evening times.

Is noon considered AM or PM?

Noon is the exact midpoint of the day, occurring at 12:00. As it is the dividing point between the two halves of the day, it is technically neither AM nor PM. However, it is common practice to treat noon as PM, since it is the first moment of the “after midday” period.

What does PM mean in chats?

In the context of chats and online communication, PM stands for “private message.” Users can send private text messages directly to other users, separate from the public chat forums or discussion groups.

What is the origin of the PM term?

The terms AM and PM, as mentioned earlier, both have Latin origins. “Ante meridiem” (AM) means “before midday,” while “post meridiem” (PM) means “after midday.” These terms originated in ancient Rome and have been used to represent the two halves of the day for centuries.

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