Consonants /h/ versus /m/, 281 pairs     [hatmat.html]

The /h/ sound is spelled with <h> or <wh> in who. The /m/ sound is spelled with <m> or <mm>. Notice how the homograph mows makes pairs with hose and house.

This is a contrast between a voiceless glottal fricative and a voiced nasal continuant. It can only occur initially or medially before a stressed syllable. It is not a problem.

This contrast is heard in the word hugger-mugger, originally meaning concealment but now more often confusion. Other interesting pairs include:

harangue meringue
Helen melon
highness minus
hustle muscle

The mean density value is 3.2%. The lists make 147 semantic distinctions, a loading of 52%.

aha Armagh 
ha ma
ha mar
hack mac 
  hacks macs
hacks Max 
had mad
hag mag
  hags mags
hail mail
  hailed mailed
  hails mails
hail male
  hails males
hair mare	  
  hairs mares
hair mayor
  hairs mayors
hairy Mary
hale mail
hale male
hair mare
  hairs mares
hairy Mary 
Haiti matey
hake make
hall mall
  halls malls
hall maul
  halls mauls
hallow mallow 
  hallows mallows
halt malt
  halted malted
  halting malting
  halts malts
ham ma'am
handy Mandy 
hanks Manx 
Hansard mansard
  Hansards mansards
hap map
  happed mapped
  happing mapping
  haps maps
harangue meringue
  harangues meringues
hard marred
hark mark
  harked marked
  harking marking
  harks marks
Harlow Marlow
harry marry
  harried married
  harries marries
  harrying marrying
harrow marrow
  harrows marrows
harsh marsh
hart mart
  harts marts
hash mash
  hashes mashes
  hashing mashing
  hashed mashed
hasten mason
  hastens masons
hat mat
  hats mats
hatch match
  hatched matched
  hatches matches
  hatching matching
hatchet matchet
  hatchets matchets
hate mate
  hated mated
  hates mates
  hating mating
hatter matter
  hatters matters
haul mall
  hauls malls
haul maul
  hauled mauled
  hauling mauling
haw maw
  haws maws
hawed Maud 
hay may 
Hayling mailing
haze Mays 
haze maize
haze maze
  hazed mazed
  hazes mazes
he me
head Med 
Heanor meaner
hear mere
  hears meres
hearses mercies
heart mart
  hearts marts
heat meat
  heats meats
heat meet
  heats meets
  heating meeting  
heat mete
  heated meted
  heats metes
  heated meted
heater meter
  heaters meters
heed mead
  heeds meads
heed Mede
  heeds Medes
height might
height mite
  heights mites
Helen melon
hen men
her myrrh
here mere
Herr mare
Herr mayor
hew mew
  hewed mewed
  hewing mewing
  hews mews
heyday mayday
hi my
hick Mick 
hicks mix
hidden midden
high my
higher mire
highness minus
  highnesses minuses
hike mike 
  hikes mikes
hilly Millie 
hilt milt
hind mind
  hinds minds
hint mint
  hinted minted
  hinting minting
  hints mints
hire mire
  hired mired
  hires mires
  hiring miring
hiss miss 
  hissed missed
  hisses misses 
  hissing missing
ho mo 
ho mow
hoar more
hoarse Morse 
hoax mokes
hob mob
  hobs mobs
hock mock
  hocked mocked
  hocking mocking
  hocks mocks
hod Mod 
hods Mods 
hoe mo
hoe mow
  hoes mows
  hoed mowed
  hoeing mowing
hoed mode
hoist moist
hold Mold 
hold mould
  holding moulding
  holdings mouldings
  holds moulds
holder moulder
  holders moulders
hole mole
  holes moles
holly Molly 
hone moan
  honed moaned
  hones moans
  honing moaning
honey money
  honeyed moneyed
  honeys monies
Hoo moo
hoot moot
  hooted mooted
  hooting mooting
  hoots moots
Hoover mover
  Hoovers movers
hooves moves
hop mop
  hopped mopped
  hopping mopping
  hops mops
hope mope
  hoped moped
  hopes mopes
  hoping moping
Horace Maurice
Horley Morley
horn morn
  horns morns
horn mourn
  horned mourned
  horning morning
  horns mourns
hose mows
hoses moseys
host most
hotel motel
  hotels motels
hotly motley
hound mound
  hounds mounds
house mouse
house mows
Hove mauve
how mow
huddle muddle
  huddled muddled
  huddles muddles
  huddling muddling
huff muff
  huffed muffed
  huffs muffs
hug mug
  hugged mugged
  hugging mugging
  hugs mugs
Hugh mew
hull mull
  hulled mulled
  hulls mulls
  hulling mulling
hum mum
  hums mums
humble mumble
  humbled mumbled
  humbles mumbles
  humbling mumbling
humps mumps
hunch munch
  hunched munched
  hunches munches
  hunching munching
hunger monger
  hungers mongers
hunk monk
  hunks monks
hurtle myrtle
  hurtles myrtles
hush mush
husk musk
husky musky
  huskier muskier
  huskiest muskiest
hussies musses
hustle muscle
  hustled muscled
  hustles muscles
  hustling muscling
hut mutt
  huts mutts
whole mole
  wholes moles
whose moos 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010.