Is 12pm noon or midnight? Here’s the explanation with 10 examples

Learning about time is one of the first things you learn with a new language. But is 12pm when you should be in bed or when you have your lunch?

Is 12pm noon or midnight?

12pm is noon. Because “pm” stands for “post meridiem”, and “meridiem” means noon. I know this sounds like I’m saying 12pm is 12 hours after noon, and I don’t know why the English language is like this. But it is what it is.

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AM is morning. PM is afternoon

Okay, so I know that 12pm is a bit confusing, and perhaps even a contradiction. But knowing the difference between AM and PM is easier when you know what they stand for.

AM stands for Ante Meridiem. This is any time before midday. From 12am at night to 11:59am in the morning.

PM stands for Post Meridiem. Any time after midday. From 12pm in the afternoon to 11:59pm, which is when most of you will probably be asleep.

Meridiem is to do with geography

One of the words we’ve used a lot so far in this article is “Meridiem”, and for the most part it means “noon”. But the reason we associate these words with the afternoon is due to the Meridiem line.

Planet Earth has many lines that separate the different parts of the word. The best way to think of the Meridiem line is to imagine the equator as Earth’s X-Axis, and the Meridiem as the Y axis.

The position of the sun along the Meridiem line determines what time of day it is. I know it’s complicated, but that’s the long and short of it.

Midday is the middle of the day

Another word for noon is midday. As the name suggests, midday is in the middle of the day. At this point, you have had 12 hours of that day so far, and you have another 12 hours left. Usually, this will be the time of the day when the sun is at its highest point.

Of course, this isn’t always the case, but generally speaking, if you want to gamble on when the sun will be highest, midday is probably your best bet.

5 examples of “12pm”

“At 12pm, however, many of the same common features seen at 70 and 160pm can be seen again, requiring a high temperature for the material within the features”

“We provide guided tours around the city, scheduled in January – April only on Sundays at 12 and 1 pm; May 1st – mid June on Saturdays and Sundays at 12pm,”

“His lesson starts at 12pm, an hour after his meeting”

“The agreed upon time is set at 12pm, at which most of us sit down and meditate on peace and loving one another.”

“The predictions of subtle galaxy counts at 12pm remarkably fit what NASA are reporting.”

5 examples of “noon”

“Legend has it, Rover will be there around noon. He’s going to wear your shirt in front of the whole village. ” Jacobs was outraged.”

“I hope that Between Noon and four will be for you what it has always been for me: a chance to be happy.”

“In this context, the pro-America message of Brightness at Noon erupted with an overwhelming force”

“Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon (1940, France) is arguably the greatest political novel og all time”

“He would read his book non-stop after waking up until noon.”

“Why Does Daddy Drink Before Noon? The awful tale of late stage alcoholism and the people it impacts”

Alternatives to 12pm and noon

“At teatime, however, many of the same cirrus features seen at 60 and 100pm are again visible, implying a high temperature for the material composing the cirrus”

“Alan‛s lesson starts at siesta, an hour after Andrew‛s lesson”

“The universal time being set at lunch-time, at which everybody sits down and meditates on peace and loving kindness.”

“The predictions of faint galaxy counts halfway through the day remarkably fit the ISO-ESS deep counts.”

“He would read his paper non-stop after breakfast until the clock struck 12.”


And now you can see the difference between 12pm and 12am, and you know that 12pm refers to noon, or midday.

Because PM stands for “post meridiem” and “meridiem” means noon, this shouldn’t be the case. But the thing with English is it often doesn’t make all that much sense. Thankfully, after reading this article, you will now know the right time when you’re next asked.