One of the most frustrating and interesting things about English is the crazy pronunciation. Silent letters can be particularly difficult. They are there. You can see them. But you don't hear them! 

There are two situations in which B is silent. Silent B at the end of words is one common pattern. If you see -MB at the end of a word, usually you do not pronounce the B. The other common silent B pattern is -BT.

Examples of Silent B Words

Here is a word list with 17 examples of silent B words:

Silent B Word List
Word IPA PoS Definition
bomb /bɒm/ n. a machine that explores
comb /kəʊm/ n. a device for making hair neat
dumb /dʌm/ adj. not smart
lamb /læm/ n. a young sheep
climb /klaɪm/ v. to go up
thumb /θʌm/ n. finger on the side of the hand
tomb /tuːm/ n. a building for dead bodies
thumb /θʌm/ n. finger on the side of the hand
crumb /krʌm/ n. a small piece of food
limb /lɪm/ n. an arm or leg
numb /nʌm/ adj. not feeling
plumber /ˈplʌmər/ n. someone who fixed pipes
womb /wuːm/ n. the uterus
debt /dɛt/ n. owing money
doubt /daʊt/ n. uncertainty
subtle /ˈsʌtəl/ adj. delicate; not obvious
jamb /dʒam/ n. the side of a doorway

Notice that the silent B doesn't tell us anything about the vowel in the word. The vowel sounds can be very different, for example in bomb, comb, and tomb.

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Why is B Silent Sometimes?

In the past, the B in these words was not silent. Over time, pronunciation changes. For example, bomb comes from the Italian bomba, in which the second B is pronounced, and climb was climban in Old English. By about 1300 C.E., the B had become silent.


More Free English Resources 

Have you read our other posts on English pronunciation?  If not, take a look at Silent K, Silent N, Silent G and Silent L, and Deleted Syllables.

  Silent B Words in English

Silent B Words in English

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