The metre (or meter; US spelling) is the SI base unit of length and uses the symbol m.
Originally defined in 1793 as one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole but was redefined in 1799 in terms of a prototyped metre bar (this bar was changed again in 1889).
In 1983 the current definition was adopted and it is now the most common unit in any property in the world and is used in thousands of formulae to describe countless characteristics.
Let's hear it for the metre!
The em is a unit of length in the field of typography and uses the symbol em.
It is a "relative" unit and equals the currently specified point size. For example, 1 em in a 24-point typeface is equal to 24 points. This allows a typographer to specify text size relative to a base figure.
In metal type, the em was equal to the line height of the metal body. This meant the physical size of the letter could not exceed the em. In digital type, the em is a grid of arbitrary resolution so can be scaled to any point size for screen or print.