Book a Demo

210 Words With Silent Letters - A Comprehensive List

Silent letters are letters that use to write the word, but we don't pronounce. You will see them on paper, but you won't hear them when you say the word. In this post, you will find a comprehensive list of  words that contain silent letters. Bookmark this page so that you can check it anytime and download our free guide for more tips on how to improve your English pronunciation.

Why Are There Silent Letters?

Silent letters may seem useless but –believe it or not– they are not always redundant. They may help us in different ways:

👯 Homophones. Silent letters help us distinguish between homophones (i.e. words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings) in writing (e.g. be/bee, in/inn, lent/leant, rest/wrest, new/knew, night/knight, jam/jamb).

🗣️ Pronunciation. Even though these letters are not pronounced, they can help the reader to stress the correct syllable (e.g. physics/physiques) and also change the pronunciation of other letters (e.g. guest/gesture, rid/ride).

🗺️ Origin. Silent letters may help us better understand the origin or meaning of a word and also connect them with one another from the same family (e.g. resign-resignation, vine-vineyard).

Now that you see they're not totally useless –at least not always– let's check what words have silent letters.

Words With Silent Letters

Look at the words below and read them out loud. Putting them in a sentence will help you better remember which words include silent letters.

Words With Silent B

The letter B is often silent when it is placed at the end of a word and is preceded by M (-MB). 

  • Aplomb
  • Bomb
  • Climb
  • Comb
  • Crumb
  • Debt
  • Doubt
  • Dumb
  • Jamb
  • Lamb
  • Limb
  • Numb
  • Plumb
  • Subtle
  • Succumb
  • Thumb
  • Tomb
  • Womb

Words With Silent C

The letter C is often silent when it is placed after an S (SC).

  • Abscess
  • Ascend / ascent
  • Conscience
  • Conscious
  • Crescent
  • Descend
  • Disciple
  • Evanesce
  • Fascinate
  • Fluorescent
  • Muscle
  • Obscene
  • Resuscitate
  • Scenario
  • Scene
  • Scissors

Words With Silent D

The letter D is often silent when it is placed in the middle of a word, either after an N or before a G (-DG-, -ND-).

  • Bridge
  • Edge
  • Handkerchief (**NOTE: in the word "hand", the D is not silent)
  • Handsome
  • Handful
  • Grandson
  • Ledger
  • Sandwich
  • Wednesday

Words With Silent E

Many words contain a silent E, especially at the end of a word. Usually these words end in Vowel + Consonant + Silent E. The list is very extensive; here are some examples:

  • Debate
  • Desire
  • Excite
  • Kite
  • Love
  • Make
  • Name

In American English, we tend to drop silent E's in some words.

  • Judgement (BrE) / judgment (AmE)
  • Programme (BrE) / program (AmE)

Words With Silent G

The letter G is oftentimes silent when it is placed before N, mostly when GN appears at the beginning or the end of the word. It is also usually silent when it appears before H (GH).

  • Align
  • Assign
  • Benign
  • Champagne
  • Cologne
  • Consign
  • Design
  • Feign
  • Foreign
  • Gnarl
  • Gnash
  • Gnaw
  • Gnome
  • Gnomic
  • High
  • Light
  • Resign
  • Sign

Words With Silent H

The letter H is sometimes silent when it is placed after C (CH) and it is always silent when it appears after some consonants (GH, WH, RH).

  • Anchor
  • Archeology (in BrE: archaeology)
  • Architect / architecture
  • Archive
  • Borough
  • Chaos
  • Character / characteristic
  • Charisma
  • Chemical / chemistry / chemist
  • Choreograph
  • Chorus
  • Christmas / Christian
  • Echo
  • Heir
  • Herbs (**only in AmE)
  • Hour
  • Honest / honor
  • Ghost
  • Psychology
  • Rhino
  • Schedule (**only in AmE)
  • Scheme
  • School
  • Tech / technology / techie
  • Thai / Thailand
  • Thigh
  • Thorough
  • Vehicle
  • Weigh
  • What / when / where / why / which
  • White
  • While

Words With Silent K

The letter K is silent when it appears at the beginning of a word followed by N (KN-).

  • Knack
  • Knave
  • Knead
  • Knee
  • Kneel
  • Knell
  • Knickers
  • Knife
  • Knight
  • Knit
  • Knob
  • Knock
  • Knoll
  • Knot
  • Know / knew / known
  • Knowledge
  • Knuckle

Words With Silent L

The letter L is often silent in the combination ALF, ALM, and OULD.

  • Almond
  • Balm
  • Behalf
  • Calf
  • Chalk
  • Could
  • Folk
  • Half
  • Palm
  • Salmon
  • Should
  • Stalk
  • Talk
  • Walk
  • Would
  • Yolk

Words With Silent N

The letter N is often silent when it appears at the end of a word preceded by the letter M (-MN).

  • Autumn
  • Column
  • Condemn
  • Damn
  • Hymn
  • Solemn

Words With Silent P

The letter P is often silent at the beginning of a word followed by S (PS-).

  • Coup
  • Cupboard
  • Psychology
  • Pneumonia
  • Pseudo
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotic
  • Receipt

Words With Silent T

  • Apostle
  • Bristle
  • Bustle
  • Castle
  • Fasten
  • Glisten
  • Hustle
  • Listen
  • Moisten
  • Often

Words With Silent U

The silent U is used to soften the letter G (GU-). It is also silent in most words with the structure -UIT or -UILT.

  • Baguette
  • Biscuit
  • Build
  • Building
  • Built
  • Circuit
  • Disguise
  • Guess
  • Guest
  • Guide
  • Guild
  • Guilt
  • Guilty
  • Guise
  • Guitar
  • Rogue
  • Silhouette

Words With Silent W

The letter W is often silent when it is placed before the letter R (WR).

  • Awry
  • Playwright
  • Sword
  • Wrack
  • Wrangle
  • Wrap
  • Wrapper
  • Wrath
  • Wreak
  • Wreath
  • Wreck
  • Wrestle
  • Wriggle
  • Wring
  • Wrinkle
  • Wrist
  • Writ
  • Write / wrote / written
  • Wrong

Keep Improving Your English Pronunciation

Download our free pronunciation guide and learn how to improve your English pronunciation. It includes video tutorials and tips to practice on your own. If you are serious about improving your pronunciation and business English, contact Talaera. We will help you find the program for you and your teams.

Download Free Ebook - Pronunciation

Keep Learning

For any additional information or questions, you can also reach out at hello@talaera.com. Interested in getting the best offers and receiving free content on Business English communication? Subscribe to our newsletter and we will keep you in the loop with offers, free events, and development materials! 

comments
0