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Consonants /b/ versus /k/: 577 pairs     

The spelling of /b/ is always either <b> or <bb>. The /k/ sound is variously <k>, <ck>, <cc>, <c>, or <ch>. I have excluded a few pairs retrieved by the computer which showed the contrast twice, such as baboon/cocoon and bobtail/cocktail, or reversed in complementary positions, sich as back/cab. I have included the inflected forms in pairs such as tubs/tucks and robbed/rocked even though in phonemic transcription they are not minimal. The homograph bow enters several different pairs, and the homograph corps (singular v. plural) pairs with bore and bores.

The contrast is between two plosives, one voiced and one voiceless, very far apart in the mouth. I have never heard of it being a problem, though mishearings might occur with unreleased final sounds.

As usual, I have included inflected forms such as lobs/locks and lobbed/locked even though they are not strictly minimal. See the main page for an explanation.

There are three pairs involving a taboo word: boon/coon, cob/cock and bum/come.

The pair Cox and Box has become proverbial for any interchangeable pair, and is the title of a Sullivan operetta about two men sharing a room and a fianc´┐Że and never meeting. Other interesting pairs include

abscess access
babel cable
bailiff caliph
banded candid
battle cattle
boffin coffin
bomber comma
bonkers conquers
Bristol crystal
bursary cursory
doubling duckling
nibble nickel
rabbit racket

The mean density value is 3.7%. The list makes 273 semantic distinctions, a loading of 47%.
Abe ache
aboard accord
abscess access	 
  abscesses accesses
absent accent
abuse accuse
  abused accused
  abuses accuses
  abusing accusing
B key
baa'd card
baas cars
babe bake
  babes bakes
babel cable
  babels cables
Babs cabs
bad cad
badge cadge
  badges cadges
  badged cadged
badger cadger
  badgers cadgers
bail kail
bailiff caliph
  bailiffs caliphs
bairn cairn
  bairns cairns
bait Kate 
baize K's 
bake cake
  baked caked
  bakes cakes
  baking caking
baker caber
  bakers cabers
bald called
bale kail
balk calk  
  balked calked
  balking calking
  balks calks
balk cork 
  balked corked
  balking corking
  balks corks
ball call
  balled called
  balling calling
  balls calls
balm calm
ban can 
  banned canned
  banning canning
  bans cans
band canned
banded candid
bandy candy
  bandies candies
  bandying candying
banian canyon
  banians canyons
banister canister
  banisters canisters
banker canker
  bankers cankers
banner canna
  banners cannas
bannock Cannock 
bant cant
  banted canted
  banting canting
  bants cants
banter canter
  bantered cantered
  bantering cantering
  banters canters
bar car
  bars cars
barb bark
  barbs barks
  barbed barked
barber barker
  barbers barkers
bard card
  bards cards
bare care
  bared cared
  bares cares
  baring caring
barley Cali 
barn khan 
  barns khans
baron Carron 
barrel carol 
  barrelled carolled
  barrelling carolling
  barrels carols
barrier carrier
  barriers carriers
Barry Carrie
barter carter
  barters carters
base case
  based cased
  bases cases
basement casement
  basements casements
bash cache
  bashes caches
  bashing caching
bash cash
  bashing cashing
  bashed cashed
  bashes cashes  
basin caisson
  basins caissons
bask cask
  basks casks
basket casket
  baskets caskets
bass case
  basses cases
bat cat
  bats cats
batch catch
  batches catches
bate Kate
battle cattle
batty catty
bauble corbel
  baubles corbels
bawd cawed
  bawds chords
bay K 
  bays K's
B key
  B's keys
be key  
  being keying
bee key
  bees keys
bear care
  bearing caring
  bears cares
beau Co 
beep keep
  beeps keeps
beg keg
  begs kegs
Beith Keith
belt Celt 
ben ken
  bens kens
bend kenned
Benny Kenny
bent Kent 
berry Kerry
bettering Kettering 
bid kid
  bidding kidding
  bids kids
bight kite
  bights kites
bind kind
  binds kinds
binder kinder
bine kine
bird curd
  birds curds
Birtley curtly
bit kit
  bits kits
bite kite
  bites kites
bitten kitten
blab black
  blabber blacker
  blabbing blacking
black clack
  blacked clacked
  blacking clacking
  blacks clacks
blame claim
  blamed claimed
  blames claims
  blaming claiming
blank clank
  blanks clanks
blare Clare 
blast classed
bleat cleat
  bleats cleats
blench clench
  blenched clenched
  blenches clenches
  blenching clenching
blew clew
blew clue
blink clink
  blinked clinked
  blinking clinking
  blinks clinks
blinker clinker
  blinkers clinkers
blip clip
  blips clips
blob bloc
  blobs blocs
blob block
  blobs blocks
bloc clock
  blocs clocks
block clock
  blocks clocks
  blocked clocked
  blocking clocking
bloke cloak
  blokes cloaks
blot clot
  blotted clotted
  blotting clotting
  blots clots
blown clone
blows close
blue clew
  blued clewed
  blues clews
  bluing clewing
blue clue
  blues clues  
  bluing clying
  blued clued
bluster cluster
  blustered clustered
  blustering clustering
  blusters clusters
boar caw
  boars caws
boar core
  boars cores
boar corps
  boars corps
board chord
  boards chords
board cord
  boarded corded
  boarding cording
  boards cords
board cored 
boars cause
boast coast
  boasted coasted
  boasting coasting
  boasts coasts
boaster coaster
  boasters coasters
boat coat
  boated coated
  boating coating
  boats coats
bob cob
  bobs cobs
Bobby cocky
bode code
  boded coded
  bodes codes
bodied codded
boffin coffin
  boffins coffins
bog cog
  bogs cogs
boil coil
  boiled coiled
  boiling coiling
  boils coils
bold coaled
bold cold
  bolder colder
  boldest coldest
  boldly coldly
  boldness coldness
bole coal
  boles coals
bollard collared
bolt colt
  bolts colts
bomber comma
  bombers commas
bond conned
bone cone 
  boned coned
  bones cones
  boning coning
bongo Congo 
bonkers conkers	
bonkers conquers
Bonn con
bonny Connie  
bony coney
boo coo
  booing cooing
  boos coos
book cook
  booked cooked
  booking cooking
  books cooks
bookie cookie
  bookies cookies
boon coon
  boons coons
boot coot
  boots coots
booze coos
bore caw
  bores caws
bores cause  
bored chord
bore core
  bored cored
  bores cores
  boring coring	   
bore corps
  bores corps  
bored cord
boss cos
bough cow
  boughs cows 
bought caught
bought court
bounty county
  bounties counties
Bourne corn
bow Co
bow cow
  bows cows
  bowed cowed
  bowing cowing
bower cower
  bowers cowers
bowl coal
  bowling coaling
  bowled coaled
  bowls coals
bowled cold  
bowler cola
  bowlers colas
box cocks
  boxed coxed
  boxes coxes
  boxing coxing
boy coy
bract cracked
braes craze
brag crag
  brags crags
brain crane
  brained craned
  braining craning
  brains cranes
braise craze
  braised crazed
  braises crazes
brake crake
  brakes crakes
brash crash
brave crave
  braved craved
  braves craves
  braving craving
brawl crawl
  brawled crawled
  brawling crawling
  brawls crawls
brawler crawler
  brawlers crawlers
brazier crazier
breast crest
  breasted crested
  breasting cresting
  breasts crests
breed creed
brew crew 
  brewed crewed
  brews crews
brews cruise
briar crier
  briars criers
bride cried
brief Crieff 
Bristol crystal
broke croak
brook crook 
  brooked crooked
  brooking crooking
  brooks crooks
Bros cross
brown crown
  browned crowned
  browning crowning
  browns crowns
bruise cruise
  bruised cruised
  bruises cruises
  bruising cruising
bruise crews
bruiser cruiser
  bruisers cruisers
brunch crunch
  brunches crunches
brush crush
  brushed crushed
  brushes crushes
  brushing crushing
bubble buckle
  bubbled buckled
  bubbles buckles
  bubbling buckling
Buckley bubbly
bud cud
buff cuff
  buffed cuffed
  buffing cuffing
  buffs cuffs
built kilt
bulb bulk
  bulbs bulks
bum come
  bumming coming
  bums comes
bur cur
burk kirk
  burks kirks
burly curly
  burlier curlier
  burliest curliest
burr cur
  burrs curs
bursary cursory
burst cursed
burton curtain
  burtons curtains
Bury Kerry
bus cuss
  buses cusses
bushy cushy
bustard custard
  bustards custards
but cut
  buts cuts
butt cut
  butts cuts
  butting cutting
  butts cuts
butler cutler
  butlers cutlers
butter cutter
  butters cutters
club cluck
  clubbing clucking
  clubbed clucked
  clubs clucks
cob cock
  cobs cocks
cobber cocker
  cobbers cockers
cobble cockle
  cobbles cockles
crab crack
  crabbing cracking
  crabbed criacked
  crabs cracks
crib crick
  cribbing cricking
  cribbed cricked
  cribs cricks
curb kirk
  curbs kirks
daubing Dorking 
deb Dec 
dibber dicker
  dibbers dickers
doubling duckling
dub duck
  dubbing ducking
  dubbed ducked
  dubs ducks
grebe Greek
hob hock
  hobs hocks
hobby hockey
houseboat housecoat
  houseboats housecoats
jab jack
  jabbing jacking
  jabbed jacked
  jabs jacks
Job joke
knob knock
  knobs knocks
kobo coco 
  kobos cocos 
lab lack
  labs lacks
labs lax  
Lib lick
lob lock
  lobs locks
  lobbing locking
  lobbed locked
mob mock
  mobbing mocking
  mobbed mocked
  mobs mocks
nab knack 
  nabs knacks
neighbour nacre 
nib Nick 
nibble nickel
  nibbled nickelled
nibbles nickels
Oban oaken
orb auk 
pub puck  
  pubs pucks
rabbit racket
  rabbited racketed
  rabbiting racketing
  rabbits rackets
rib rick
  ribbing ricking
  ribbed ricked
  ribs ricks
rob roc
rob rock
  robbed rocked
  robbing rocking
  robs rocks
robber rocker
  robbers rockers
robbery rockery
  robberies rockeries
rub ruck
  rubbing rucking
  rubbed rucked
  rubs rucks
sibyl sickle
  sibyls sickles
slab slack
  slabs slacks
sob sock
  sobbing socking
  sobbed socked
  sobs socks
sober soaker 
  sobers soakers 
stab stack
  stabbing stacking
  stabbed stacked
  stabs stacks
stub stuck
sub suck
  subbing sucking
  subbed sucked
  subs sucks
tab tack
  tabs tacks
tabby tacky
tabor taker
  tabors takers
trouble truckle
  troubled truckled
  troubles truckles
  troubling truckling
tub tuck
  tubs tucks
Woburn woken

Credit: John Higgins