A number of these pairs arise from the contrast between the ľable suffix and the ľal suffix, such as admirable/admiral and removable/removal. There are several doubtful cases where the presence or absence of a syllabic consonant affects the syllable count and the decision about whether the pair is minimal. Thus sociable/social is not in the list but sociably/socially is. The pair subaltern/sultan shows up in the lists, but subaltern is clearly three syllables while sultan is two. Similarly fabled is clearly two syllables, while failed is usually analysed as a monosyllable. The same applies to stablemate/stalemate, though the difference is less striking. There is also a problem when the /b/ comes between a diphthong and a vowel leaving a triphthong when the /b/ is omitted, as in labour/layer.
The bass homograph yields the two pairs bass/ace and bass/ass, and the baas homograph gives the pairs baas/arse and baas/ares. The pair BBC/EEC is not quite minimal but is close enough to be retained in the list. I have discarded all other cases where two /b/ consonants have been contrasted with nulls, as in bible/aisle.
Other interesting pairs include:
The list makes 563 semantic contrasts, a loading of 56%.
Abe A Abe aye Abe eh abjure adjure abjured adjured abjures adjures abjuring adjuring abjuration adjuration abjurations adjurations ablaze allays able ail able ale abrade arrayed abreast arrest abrogate arrogate abrogated arrogated abrogates arrogates abrogating arrogating absent ascent absents ascents absent assent absented assented absenting assenting absents assents admirable admiral alb Al album alum Ashby ashy audibly orderly B E B's E's B's ease baa ah baa are baas ares baa R baas R's baas arse backed act backs axe bad ad bad add bade ad bade add baggy Aggie bah ah bah are bah R bail ail bailed ailed bailing ailing bailment ailment bailments ailments bails ails bail ale bails ales bait eight baits eights baize A's bake ache baked ached bakes aches baking aching baker acre bakers acres balder alder bale ail baled ailed bales ails baling ailing bale ale bales ales balk auk balks auks ball all ball awl balls awls bally Ali bally alley balm arm balmy army ban an ban Anne band and bandy Andy bangle angle bangles angles Bangor anger banker anchor bankers anchors banned and banner anna banners annas bant ant bants ants Baptist aptest bar ah bar are bars ares bar R bars R's bare air bared aired bares airs baring airing bare Ayr bare e'er bare ere bare heir bares heirs bark arc barks arcs bark ark barks arks barm arm barmen amen barmy army barque arc barques arcs barque ark barques arks barrow arrow barrows arrows Bart art base ace bases aces bash ash bashes ashes bask ask basked asked basking asking basks asks bass ace basses aces bass ass bat at bate eight bates eights batter attar bawd awed bawl all bawl awl bawls awls bay A bays A's bay aye bay eh bayed aid BBC EEC BC EC be E beach each beagle eagle beagles eagles beak eke beaks ekes bean e'en bear air bearing airing bearings airings bears airs bear Ayr bear e'er bear ere bear heir bears heirs beast east beat eat beaten eaten beater eater beaters eaters beating eating beats eats beau O beaux O's beau oh beau owe beaux owes beaver Eva Beccles Eccles becks X bed ed bedded eddied bee E beech each been e'en beer ear beers ears beery eerie beerier eerier beeriest eeriest bees ease bees E's beet eat beets eats beeves eaves beeves eves beg egg begged egged begging egging begs eggs belated elated belied elide bell L bells L's belle L belles L's belly Ellie ben N bens N's bend end bended ended bending ending bends ends Benny any berg erg bergs ergs Bern earn Bern urn Bernie Ernie berth earth berthed earthed berthing earthing berths earths Bess S bet ate beta eater betas eaters bethel Ethel bey A beys A's bey aye bey eh bicycle icicle bicycles icicles bid id bide eyed bide I'd bides ides bier ear biers ears biff if bile aisle bile I'll bile isle bilk ilk bill ill bills ills bin in bins ins bin inn bins inns bird erred birth earth births earths bit it bits its bits it's bitch itch bitched itched bitches itches bitchier itchier bitchiest itchiest bitching itching bitchy itchy bitterly Italy biz is black lack blacked lacked blacking lacking blacks lacks blacker lacquer blacks lax bladder ladder bladders ladders blade lade blade laid blah la Blaina liner blame lame blamed lamed blames lames blaming laming bland land blank lank blare lair blares lairs blared laird blast last blasted lasted blasting lasting blasts lasts blatant latent blaze lays blaze laze blazes lazes blazing lazing blaze leis blazed lazed blazer laser blazers lasers bleach leach bleached leached bleaches leaches bleaching leaching bleach leech bleaches leeches bleak leak bleak leek bleat lied bled lead bled led bleed lead bleeding leading bleeds leads bleeds Leeds bleep leap bleeped leaped bleeping leaping bleeps leaps blend lend blending lending blends lends blent leant blent lent bless less blessed lest blest lest blether leather blethers leathers blew lieu blew loo blight light blighted lighted blighting lighting blights lights blighter lighter blighters lighters blimey limey blimp limp blimps limps blind lined blink link blinked linked blinking linking blinks links blinks lynx blip lip blips lips blithe lithe blizzard lizard blizzards lizards bloc loch blocs lochs bloc lock blocs locks bloc lough blocs loughs block loch blocks lochs block lock blocked locked blocking locking blocks locks block lough blocks loughs bloom loom bloomed loomed blooming looming blooms looms blot lot blots lots blotto lotto blow lo blow low blowed lowed blowing lowing blows lows blowed load blowed lode blower lower blowers lowers blown loan blown lone blowzy lousy blue lieu blue loo blues loos blues lose bluff luff bluffed luffed bluffing luffing bluffs luffs blush lush blushes lushes bluster lustre Blyth lie Blyth lye bo O bo oh bo owe boar awe boars awes boar oar boars oars boar o'er boar or boar ore boars ores board awed boarder order boarders orders boast oast boasts oasts boat oat boats oats bode ode bodes odes bode owed bodices odysseys boh O boh oh boh owe boil oil boiled oiled boiling oiling boils oils boiler oiler boilers oilers bold old bolder older boldest oldest Bolivia Olivia bone own boned owned boner owner boners owners bones owns boning owning Bonn on bonus onus boos ooze booze ooze boozed oozed boozes oozes boozier oozier booziest ooziest boozing oozing boozy oozy border order bordered ordered bordering ordering borders orders bore awe bored awed bores awes bore oar bores oars bore o'er bore or bore ore bores ores borer aura borers auras both oath bought aught bought ought boulder older bounce ounce bounces ounces bout out bouts outs bow O bows O's bow oh bow owe bows owes bowed owed bowing owing bowed ode bower hour bowers hours bower our bowers ours bowled old bowmen omen box ox bra rah brace race braced raced braces races bracing racing bracket racket bracketed racketed bracketing racketing brackets rackets bracket racquet brackets racquets bract racked brae ray braes rays brae re braes raise braes raze brag rag bragged ragged bragging ragging brags rags braid raid braided raided braiding raiding braids raids braid rayed braille rail brain rain brained rained braining raining brains rains brain reign brained reigned braining reigning brains reigns brain rein brained reined braining reining brains reins brainy rainy brainier rainier brainiest rainiest braise raise braised raised braises raises braising raising braise rays braise raze braised razed braises razes braising razing brake rake braked raked brakes rakes braking raking bran ran branch ranch branches ranches brand rand brands rands brandy randy brash rash brasher rasher brashest rashest brat rat brats rats brave rave braved raved braver raver braves raves braving raving bray ray brayed rayed braying raying brays rays bray re brayed raid brays raise brays raze braze raise brazed raised brazes raises brazing raising braze rase braze rays braze raze brazed razed brazes razes brazing razing brazen raisin brazens raisins breach reach breached reached breaches reaches breaching reaching bread read bread red break rake breaking raking breaks rakes bream ream breast rest breasted rested breasting resting breasts rests breast wrest breasted wrested breasting wresting breasts wrests breathe wreathe breathed wreathed breathes wreathes breathes wreaths breathing wreathing bred read bred red Breda reader breech reach breeches reaches breeches riches breed read breeding reading breeds reads breed reed breeds reeds breeder reader breeders readers Bren Rennes Bren wren Brens wrens Brenda render Brent rent Brest rest Brest wrest breve reeve breves reeves brew rue brewed rued brewing ruing brews rues brewed rood brewed rude brews ruse briar wrier brick rick bricked ricked bricking ricking bricks ricks brick wrick bricked wricked bricking wricking bricks wricks bride ride brides rides bride Ryde bridge ridge bridged ridged bridges ridges bridging ridging brief reef briefed reefed briefer reefer briefing reefing briefs reefs brier wrier brig rig brigs rigs bright Rheydt bright right bright rite bright wright bright write brighter writer brightest rightist brightly rightly brightness rightness brill Rhyl brill rill brim rim brimmed rimmed brimming rimming brims rims brine Rhine bring ring bringing ringing brings rings bring wring bringing wringing brings wrings brink rink brinks rinks brisk risk brisker Risca Brit writ Brits writs Britain written Briton written brittle Writtle broach roach broaches roaches broad roared brogue rogue brogues rogues brooch roach brooches roaches brood rood brood rude brood rued broods roods broody Rudy brook rook brooked rooked brooking rooking brooks rooks broom rheum broom room brooms rooms broth wrath brought wrought Broughton Wroughton brow row browned round brows rouse brows rows browse rouse browsed roused browses rouses browsing rousing browse rows Bruges rouge bruin ruin bruins ruins bruise rues bruise ruse bruises ruses bruit root bruited rooted bruiting rooting bruits roots bruit route bruited routed bruiting routing bruits routes brunt runt brunts runts brush rush brushed rushed brushes rushes brushing rushing Brussels rustles brutal rootle brute root brutes roots brute route brutes routes bunion onion bunions onions bur err bur ugh burg erg burgs ergs burke irk burked irked burkes irks burking irking burly early burlier earlier burliest earliest burn earn burned earned burning earning burns earns burn urn burns urns burr err burrs errs burr ugh burs errs butter utter buttered uttered buttering uttering butters utters buy aye buys ayes buy eye buying eyeing buys eyes buy I buys I's buyer ayah buyers ayahs buyer ire buzz us by aye by eye by I bye aye byes ayes bye eye byes eyes bye I byes I's cable kail celebrity celerity clamber clamour clambered clamoured clambering clamouring clambers clamours cobble col cobbles cols cobbler choler cobblers cholers cobbler collar cobblers collars combination commination combinations comminations corbel call corbels calls Corby coy cube cue cubes cues cube Q cubes Q's cube queue cubed queued cubes queues cubing queueing cumber comer cumbers comers curb cur curbs curs curbed curd dabbed dad daub daw daubs daws daub door daubs doors debs Des Denbigh Denny deniable denial describe descry described descried describes descries describing descrying dibber dear dibbers dears dibber deer dibble dill double dull doubled dulled doubles dulls doubling dulling dribble drill dribbled drilled dribbles drills dribbling drilling dubbed dud dubs does ebbed ed embalm imam embalms imams ember Emma enfeebled infield fable fail fabled failed fables fails feeble feel feebler feeler fibre fire fibres fires fibs fizz foible foil foibles foils gabble gal gabbles gals gable Gael gables Gaels gable gale gables gales garbed guard glebe glee glebes glees globe glow globes glows herb her herbs hers herbal hurl jabs jazz Job Joe jujube juju jujubes jujus kerb cur kerbs curs labour layer laboured layered labouring layering labours layers libel lisle lobe lo lobe low lobed lowed lobes lows lobed load lobed lode Mabel mail Mabel male marble marl Melbourne melon millboard milord mobbed mod nibble nil no-ball know-all no-balls know-alls noble knoll nobles knolls numerable numeral obliteration alliteration obsess assess obsessed assessed obsesses assesses obsessing assessing obtain attain obtained attained obtaining attaining obtains attains orb awe orbs awes orb oar orbs oars orb o'er orb or orb ore orbs ores outbid outed Peebles peals Peebles peels probe pro probes pros probes prose quibble quill quibbles quills remediable remedial removable removal renewable renewal retrievable retrieval ribbed rid robbed rod robe roe robes roes robe row robed rowed robes rows robing rowing robed road robed rode robes rose rouble rule roubles rules rumba rummer sable sail sables sails sable sale sables sales sibyl sill sibyls sills sobbed sod sober sewer sobers sewers sober sower sobers sowers sociably socially stable stale stabled staled stablemate stalemate stablemates stalemates stables stales stabling staling stubbed stud subaltern sultan subalterns sultans table tail tabled tailed tables tails tabling tailing table tale tables tales tableau tallow tribe try tribes tries unbeaten uneaten unbending unending unblock unlock unblocked unlocked unblocking unlocking unblocks unlocks viable vial viable viol vibes vies warble wall warbled walled warbles walls warbling walling webbed wed well-bred well-read Whitby witty wobbler wallah wobblers wallahs wobbly Wally
Credit: John Higgins