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Consonant /b/ versus null: 995 pairs

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