It's actually ante meridiem and post meridiem, and they do mean before noon and after noon. I've read somewhere that 'meridian' is considered correct, as well, but for the life of me I can't figure out why that would be so.
Ante meridian (before noon)
Post meridian (after noon)
See Lea A's answer below
damn. dogsafire beat me to it.
anti meridian and post meridian
before noon and after noon
Amplitude Modulation & Prime Minister
(OK, so that's not what you meant, but everyone already took the real answer.)
Ante- and post-meridian, which refers to longitude/latitude (which is defined by geograhy) rather than time (which varies according to geography).
am /is/ before noon/ pm/ is/ after noon
The correct (original) meanings are "ante meridiem" and "post meridiem" which mean "before midday" and "after midday" respectively.
The mistaken usage of meridian has some legitimacy because meridian is another word for longitude (Greenwich, England is at the zero meridian, etc). So, "ante meridian" could be used to mean before the sun passes this meridian. However, this is a mix of Latin and English -- the original Latin term of ante meridiem and post meridiem is more proper.
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