The /d/ sound may be spelled with <d>, <de> or <dd>. The /s/ sound has many spellings including <s>, <ss>, <se>, <sc>, <c> or <ce>. Since some of these overlap with the spelling of /z/, there is plenty of potential for mispronunciation. Notice how the homographs makes pairs variously, bass with bad and bayed, do with sew and Sioux, and lead with lease and less. Notice, too, how the assimilation of /ndz/ to /nz/ appears in pairs such as dens/sends.
The contrast is between a voiced stop and a voiceless fricative, in the same region of the mouth. It is not a problem for learners.
One mildly taboo word pair is peed/peace.
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density value is 2.3%. The list makes 360 semantic distinctions, a loading of 66%.
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sallying dam Sam dame same damn Sam dandy sandy darned dance dandle sandal dandled sandalled dandles sandals Dane sane Dane seine Danes seines dank sank dapper sapper dappling sapling dash sash dashes sashes date sate dated sated dates sates dating sating daughter sorter daughters sorters Dave save daw saw daws saws dawdle dorsal dawn sawn day say Dayton Satan dead said deal seal deals seals dealing sealing dealing ceiling dealings ceilings dealer sealer dealers sealers deanery scenery dear sear dears sears debt set debts sets debtor setter debtors setters deck sec decks secs decked sect decko secco decreed decrease dedicate desiccate dedicated desiccated dedicates desiccates dedicating desiccating deduce seduce deduced seduced deduces seduces deducing seducing deduction seduction deductions seductions deductive seductive deed cede deeds cedes deed seed deeds seeds defence defend deign sane deign seine deigned seined deigning seining deigns seines delf self delves selves dell cell dells cells demented cemented demon seaman demon seamen demon semen denser censer denser censor dens sends dent cent dents cents dent scent dented scented denting scenting dents scents Dereham serum derv serve Des says devil Seville Devon seven dew sue dewed deuce dhow sow dhows sows Di sigh dibble sibyl dibbles sibyls dibbling sibling die sigh died sighed dies sighs dying sighing died dice died side dignify signify dignified signified dignifies signifies dignifying signifying dimmer simmer dimmers simmers dimple simple dimples simples din sin dins sins dinned sinned dinning sinning dine sign dined signed dines signs dining signing dingle single dingles singles dinned since dip sip dips sips dipping sipping dipped sipped dire sire dirge serge dirges surges discord discourse diss sis dissed cyst ditty city ditties cities divide device divvies civies dixies sixes do sew do Sioux do so do sou do's sous dock sock docked socked docking socking docks socks docker soccer docket socket dockets sockets dodder dosser dodders dossers doe sew does sews doe sow does sows doffed soft doggie soggy dole sole doles soles doling soling doled soled dole Seoul dole soul doles souls doleful soulful dolefully soulfully doled sold doll sol donor sonar door saw doors saws door soar doors soars dope soap doped soaped dopes soaps doping soaping dopey soapy dose sewed doss sod dossing sodding dost sussed dot sot dots sots douse souse doused soused douses souses dousing sousing dower sour dowered soured dowering souring dowers sours downed sound dread dress dreading dressing dub sub dubbed subbed dubbing subbing dubs subs dude deuce duck suck ducked sucked ducking sucking ducks sucks duckling suckling ducklings sucklings dude pseud dudes pseuds duds suds due sue dues sues duffer suffer duffers suffers dumb some dumb sum dumber summer dump sump dumps sumps dun son duns sons dun sun dunned sunned dunning sunning duns suns dunned dunce dunk sunk Dutch such dwell swell dwelling swelling dwellings swellings dwells swells dwindle swindle dwindled swindled dwindles swindles dwindling swindling dye sigh dyes sighs dyed sighed dyeing sighing dyers sires Ed S eddies S's eddy esse embodies embosses emend immense endue ensue endued ensued endues ensues enduing ensuing endued induce erred Erse expand expanse expend expense fade face fading facing feared fierce fend fence fending fencing fender fencer fenders fencers ford force fording forcing fordable forcible gad gas gadding gassing gaud gorse gibbered gibbous gnawed Norse gored gorse grade grace grading gracing greed grease greedy greasy greedier greasier greediest greasiest greedily greasily greediness greasiness griddle gristle haddock hassock harried Harris hawed hoarse hawed horse heard hearse herd hearse hid hiss hoard hoarse hoard horse hoarder hoarser horde hoarse horde horse horrid Horace hosted hostess howdah Hausa huddle hustle huddled hustled huddles hustles huddling hustling humoured humus I'd ice I.D. icy indict incite indicted incited indicts incites indicting inciting indictment incitement indictments incitements indolent insolent indolence insolence indolently insolently intend intense joyed Joyce Jude juice Judy juicy kid kiss kidding kissing kiddies kisses knead Nice knead niece kneed Nice kneed niece lade lace lading lacing ladies laces lady lacy lad lass laddie lassie laddies lasses larned lance lead lease leading leasing lead less leaden lessen lied lice loud louse made mace maid mace mad mass maiden mason maidens masons manned manse Maud Morse MD MC Med mess murder mercer murders mercers middle missal middles missals middy missy middies misses Mod moss mood moose mowed mouse mud muss mudding mussing muddies musses muddle muscle muddled muscled muddles muscles muddling muscling muddle mussel muddles mussels Ned ness need Nice need niece noted notice obeyed abase offend offence orchid orchis paid pace pallid palace pampered pampas pardon parson pardons parsons parried Paris peed peace pedant peasant pedants peasants pedal pestle pedalled pestled pedals pestles pedalling pestling peddle pestle peddling pestling peddles pestles peered pierce penned pence peed piece played place pond ponce pound pounce pounding pouncing pretend pretence pride price priding pricing pud puss purred purse raid race raiding racing raider racer raiders racers random ransom record recourse renowned renounce respond response reverend reverence ride rice ruddle rustle ruddled rustled ruddles rustles ruddling rustling Ryde rice dally Sally dandy Sandy sawed sauce sawed source scared scarce seed cease seeding ceasing seedless ceaseless send sense sending sensing sender censer senders censers sender censor senders censors sidle sisal sinned since slewed sluice slide slice sliding slicing soared sauce soared source solid solace spade space spading spacing sparred sparse spied spice stand stance suspend suspense sword sauce sword source tailored talus Ted Tess tend tense tending tensing tender tenser tested testis toddies tosses trade trace trading tracing trader tracer traders tracers tread tress treadle trestle treadles trestles treated treatise tried trice tripod tripos you'd use VD VC vied vice void voice voiding voicing walled waltz wend whence whirred worse wind wince winding wincing word worse
Credit: John Higgins