Consonants /f/ versus /s/, 432 pairs     [fatsat.html]

The /f/ sound is spelled with <f> or <ff>, and exceptionally <gh> in laughed. The /s/ sound is spelled <s>, <ss>, <c>, or exceptionally <sc> in muscle and <ps> in psalm.

The contrast is between a labio-dental fricative and a palato-alveolar fricative, both voiceless. Most languages operate with similar sounds as phonemes, so they are not usually a problem.

Taboo word pairs include fuck/suck and its inflections.

Interesting pairs include:

buffoon bassoon
diffidence dissidence
fallacious salacious
fatter satyr
fecund second
feeling ceiling
fervent servant
fickle sickle
infuse ensues
offend ascend
suffix Sussex

The mean density value is 2.3%. The list makes 222 semantic distinctions, a loading of 51%.

beefed beast 
buff bus
  buffed bused
  buffing busing
buffoon bassoon 
  buffoons bassoons 
chafe chase
  chafed chased
  chafing chasing
confession concession 
  confessions concessions 
confine consign
  confined consigned
  confines consigns
  confining consigning
confinement consignment
  confinements consignments
confirmation consummation
  confirmations consummations
cough cos 
coughed cost 
countrified countryside
Crieff crease
croft crossed
cuff cuss
defeat deceit 
  defeats deceits 	
defecate dessicate
  defecates dessicates
  defecated dessicated  
defect dissect
  defected dissected
  defecting dissecting
  defects dissects
defection dissection
  defections dissections
defend descend
  defended descended
  defending descending
  defends descends
defendant descendant
  defendants descendants
defied decide 
diffidence dissidence
diffident dissident
doff doss
  doffed dossed
  doffing dossing
elf else
F S	
fable sable
  fables sables
fact sacked
fad sad
fag sag
  fagged sagged
  fagging sagging
  fags sags
fail sail
  failed sailed
  failing sailing
  failings sailings
  fails sails
fail sale 
  fails sales
fain sane
fain seine
faint saint 
  fainted sainted
  faints saints
faintly saintly
fake sake
  fakes sakes
fallacious salacious
fallow sallow
falter psalter
  falters psalters
fame same
fang sang
fanned sand
fans sans
farm psalm
  farms psalms
fat sat
fate sate
  fates sates
fatter satyr		 
faucet forfeit
  faucets forfeits
faugh saw
faugh sore
fault salt
  faulted salted
  faulting salting
  faults salts
faulty salty
  faultier saltier
  faultiest saltiest
faun sawn
fawn sawn
favour saver
  favours savers
favour savour  
  favoured savoured
  favouring savouring
  favours savours
Fawley sorely
fear sear
  feared seared
  fearing searing
  fears sears
fecund second
Fed said
fee C
  fees C's
fee see
  feeing seeing
  fees sees
feed cede 		 
  feeds cedes
  feeding ceding
feed seed
  feeds seeds
  feeding seeding
feeder cedar 
  feeders cedars 
feeler sealer
  feelers sealers
feeling ceiling 
  feelings ceilings 
feet seat
feign sane
feign seine
  feigned seined
  feigning seining
  feigns seines
felicitation solicitation
  felicitations solicitations
felicitous solicitous
  felicitously solicitously
fell cell 
  fells cells
fell sell
  felling selling
  fells sells 
fence sense
  fenced sensed
  fences senses
  fencing sensing
fencer censer 
  fencers censers 
fend send
  fending sending
  fends sends
fender sender
  fenders senders
fens sends
ferried serried
fervent servant
fervour server
fête sate
  fêted sated
  fêting sating
  fêtes sates
fetter setter
  fetters setters
fettle settle
feud pseud
  feuds pseuds
few sue
fewer sewer
fey say
fez says
fickle sickle
fie sigh
fiesta siesta
  fiestas siestas
fight cite 
  fighting citing 
  fights cites 
fight sight
  fighting sighting 
  fights sights 
fight site
  fights sites
filly silly
  fillies sillies
finch cinch 
find signed
fine sign
  fines signs
  fining signing
  fined signed
finical cynical 
fir sir
  firs sirs
fire sire
  fired sired
  fires sires
  firing siring
fist cyst
  fists cysts
fit sit
  fits sits
  fitting sitting
  fittings sittings
fitter sitter
  fitters sitters
fix sicks
fix six
  fixes sixes
fizzle sizzle
  fizzled sizzled
  fizzles sizzles
  fizzling sizzling
flag slag
  flags sags
flak slack
flake slake
  flaked slaked
  flakes slakes
  flaking slaking
flap slap
  flapped slapped
  flapping slapping
  flaps slaps
flash slash
  flashed slashed
  flashes slashes
  flashing slashing
flat slat
  flats slats
flaw slaw
flax slacks
flay slay
  flaying slaying
  flays slays
flay sleigh
  flayed sleighed
  flays sleighs
fled sled
fledge sledge
  fledged sledged
  fledges sledges
flew slew
flicker slicker
  flickers slickers
flier slyer
flight sleight
  flights sleights
flight slight
  flighted slighted
  flighting slighting
  flights slights
fling sling
  flinging slinging
flings slings
flip slip
  flipped slipped
  flips slips
  flipping slipping
floe sloe
  floes sloes
flow slow
  flows slows  
  flowing slowing
  flowed slowed
flog slog
  flogged slogged
  flogging slogging
  flogs slogs
flop slop
  flopped slopped
  flops slops
  flopping slopping
floppy sloppy
  floppier sloppier
  floppiest sloppiest
flue slew
  flues slews
fluff slough
  fluffed sloughed
  fluffing sloughing
  fluffs sloughs
flung slung
flunk slunk
flurry slurry
flush slush
fly sly
foal Seoul 
foal sole
  foaling soling
  foals soles
  foaled soled
foal soul
foaled sold
fob sob
  fobbed sobbed
  fobbing sobbing
  fobs sobs
foe sew
  foes sews
foe so  
foe sow
  foes sows
foggy soggy
  foggier soggier
  foggiest soggiest
foil soil
  foiled soiled
  foiling soiling
  foils soils
folk soak
  folks soaks
Foochow Soochow
foot soot
  footed sooted
  footing sooting
fop sop
  fops sops
for saw
for soar
fore saw
fore soar
four saw
  fours saws
four soar
  fours soars  
force sauce
  forced sauced
  forces sauces
  forcing saucing
ford sawed
found sound
  founded sounded
  founding sounding
  founds sounds
Fowey soy
fox socks
fuck suck
  fucked sucked
  fucking sucking
  fucks sucks
fucker sucker
  fuckers suckers
fucker succour
  fuckers succours
fun son
fun sun
fund sunned
funk sunk
funny sonny
funny sunny
  funnier sunnier
  funniest sunniest
  funnily sunnily
fuse sues
fuss suss
  fusses susses
  fussing sussing
  fussed sussed
gaff gas
Geoff Jess
goof goose
graft grassed
graph grass
grief grease 
huffy hussy
humph humps
infuse ensues 
knife nice
laughed last 
leaf lease
  leafed leased
  leafing leasing
left lest
life lice 
lift list
  lifted listed
  lifting listing
  lifts lists
loft lost
luffed lust
muff muss
  muffed mussed
  muffing mussing
muffle muscle
  muffled muscled
  muffles muscles
  muffling muscling
mufti musty
murphy mercy 
  murphies mercies 
offend ascend 
  offended ascended 
  offending ascending 
  offends ascends 
phaeton Satan 
  phaetons Satans 
phone sewn
phonic sonic
profess process 
  professed processed 
  professes processes 
  professing processing 
profession procession 
  professions processions 
puff pus
reft rest
relief release 
rife rice 
rift wrist
  rifts wrists
roofed roost
roughed rust
ruffle rustle
  ruffled rustled
  ruffles rustles
  ruffling rustling
shift schist 
  shifts schists 
sifter sister 
  sifters sisters
sough suss
  soughed sussed
  soughing sussing
suffix Sussex 
toff toss
toffees tosses
turf terse 
unfold unsold
weft west

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, October 2010
updated Chiang Mai, 2024