Vowels 2 and 4, /ɪ/ and //     639 pairs     [tiptap.html]

All the common spellings of /ɪ/ are present in the list, namely <i>, <e> in unstressed syllables, and <y> in gym and myths. The // vowel is <a> in all cases in this list.

These are both short vowels and so might be occasionally confused in rapid speech even though they are well separated in the mouth. The contrast is normally made on the stressed syllable, except in the pairs babysit/babysat, icepick/icepack, ghoulish/goulash and topis/topaz. The contrast is used to signal tense changes in the strong verbs bid/bade, ring/rang, sing/sang, sink/sank and sit/sat.

A few pairs differ in stress and are not truly minimal, such as belay/ballet, Ceylon/salon, excess/access, impair/ampere, etc., but they seem close enough to be a source of confusion or punning, so have been left in the list.

Several pairings with rude words exist, such as crypt/crapped, shit/shat, and wink/wank.

One notoriously confusable pair is perimeter/parameter, which in popular discourse have come close to blending into a synonymous pair, with parameter used as an abstract and formal word for edge or limit rather than its strict meaning of a value to be measured. Other interesting pairs include:

amiss amass
ellipse elapse
fertility fatality
fission fashion
imputation amputation
inhibit inhabit
knickers knackers
liquor lacquer
myths maths
silly sally
wrinkle rankle

The mean density value is 2.6%. The list makes 326 semantic contrasts, a loading of 51%.

amiss amass 
babysit babysat 
begin began 
belay ballet
  belays ballets
bibs Babs 
bicker backer 
  bickers backers 
bid bad 
bid bade
big bag 
Billy bally
bin ban
  bins bans
bins banns
bit bat 
  bits bats
bitch batch
  bitches batches 
bitten batten 
bitten baton
bitter batter 
  bitters batters 
bittern baton 
  bitterns batons 
blink blank 
  blinks blanks 
blithering blathering 
bricked bract
brig brag 
  brigs brags
Brit brat 
  Brits brats
Ceylon salon
chid Chad 
chimp champ 
  chimps champs 
chip chap 
  chipped chapped 
  chipping chapping 
  chips chaps 
chit chat 
  chits chats 
Chris crass
click clack 
  clicked clacked 
  clicking clacking 
  clicks clacks 
click claque
  clicks claques
cling clang 
  clinging clanging 
  clings clangs
clink clank 
  clinked clanked 
  clinking clanking 
  clinks clanks 
clip clap 
  clipped clapped 
  clipping clapping 
  clips claps 
clipper clapper 
  clippers clappers 
countersink countersank 
crib crab 
  cribbed crabbed 
  cribbing crabbing 
  cribs crabs 
crick crack 
  cricked cracked 
  cricking cracking 
  cricks cracks 
crimp cramp 
  crimped cramped 
  crimping cramping 
  crimps cramps 
crypt crapped 
dibble dabble 
  dibbled dabbled 
  dibbles dabbles 
  dibbling dabbling 
dicker Dacca
dicker Dakar
did dad 
digger dagger 
  diggers daggers 
dim dam 
  dimmed dammed 
  dimming damming 
  dims dams
dim damn
  dimmed damned
  dimming damning
  dims damns 
din Dan 
dingle dangle
  dingles dangles 
dipper dapper 
dish dash 
  dished dashed 
  dishes dashes 
  dishing dashing 
djinn Jan
drink drank
ellipse elapse 
  ellipses elapses 	 
exceed accede
  exceeded acceded
  exceeding acceding
  exceeds accedes
excess access
fertility fatality 
fib fab 
fissile facile 
fiction faction 
  fictions factions 
fictitious factitious 
fig fag 
  figs fags 
fin fan
  fins fans
Finn fan
  Finns fans
fissile facile
fission fashion 
  fissionable fashionable 
fit fat 
  fits fats 
  fitted fatted 
  fitting fatting 
  fitness fatness 
  fitter fatter 
  fittest fattest 
flick flak
flicks flax
flip flap
  flipped flapped
  flipping flapping 
  flips flaps 
flipper flapper
  flippers flappers
flit flat
  flits flats
forbid forbade
friction fraction
frictions fractions
frizzle frazzle 
  frizzled frazzled
  frizzles frazzles
ghoulish goulash
gibber jabber
  gibbered jabbered
  gibbering jabbering
  gibbers jabbers
gig gag
  gigs gags
giggle gaggle
  giggles gaggles
gill gal
  gills gals
gillie galley 
  gillies galleys 
gin Jan
glimmer glamour
grim gram
grimmer grammar
grinned grand
gym jam
  gyms jams
gym jamb
  gyms jambs
hick hack
  hicks hacks
hid had
hill Hal
hilly Halle 
him ham
hip hap
  hips haps
hippie happy 
his has
hissed hast
hit hat
  hits hats
hitch hatch
  hitched hatched
  hitches hatches 
  hitching hatching 
hymn ham
  hymned hammed
  hymns hams
  hymning hamming 
icepick icepack 
  icepicks icepacks 
id ad 
id add
ill Al 
imp amp 
  imps amps 
impair ampere
  impairs amperes
imputation amputation 
  imputations amputations 
in an
in Ann 
infield Anfield 
inhibit inhabit 
  inhibited inhabited 
  inhibiting inhabiting 
  inhibits inhabits 
inn an
inn Ann
inner anna
interior anterior 
is as 
it at 
jib jab
  jibbed jabbed
  jibbing jabbing 
  jibs jabs
jig jag
  jigged jagged
  jigging jagging 
  jigs jags
Jim jam
Jim jamb
jingle jangle
  jingled jangled
  jingles jangles
  jingling jangling 
kid cad 
  kids cads 
kiddy caddie 
  kiddies caddies 
killer Calor
kin can
kin Cannes
kindle candle 
  kindles candles 
kip cap 
  kipped capped
  kipping capping 
  kips caps 
kit cat 
  kits cats 
kith Cath
kitsch catch
Kitty catty
knickers knackers 
knit gnat
  knits gnats
knitter natter
  knitters natters
lib lab
lick lack
  licked lacked
  licking lacking
  licks lacks
licks lax
lid lad
  lids lads
limb lam
  limbed lammed
  limbs lams
limb lamb
  limbed lambed
  limbs lambs
limn lam
  limned lammed
  limning lamming
  limns lams
limn lamb
  limned lambed
  limning lambing
  limns lambs
limp lamp
  limps lamps
linger languor
link lank
lip lap
  lipped lapped
  lipping lapping
  lips laps
lips lapse
liquor lacquer
  liquors lacquers
lit lat
literal lateral
litter latter
littoral lateral
live lav
  lives lavs
Mick mac
mid mad
midden madden
  middens maddens
midge Madge
millet mallet 
mince manse
  minces manses 
mingle mangle
  mingled mangled
  mingles mangles
  mingling mangling
minks Manx
minx Manx
miss mass
  missed massed
  misses masses
  missing massing
missive massive 
missy massy 
mist massed
mitt mat
  mitts mats
mitt matt
mix macs
mix max
myths maths
nib nab
  nibs nabs
nick knack
  nicks knacks
niffy NAAFI 
nigger nagger
  niggers naggers
ninny nanny 
  ninnies nannies 
nip knap
  nipped knapped
  nipping knapping
  nips knaps
nip nap
  nipped napped
  nipping napping
  nips naps
nippy nappy 
nit gnat
  nits gnats
nit Nat
nix knacks
perimeter parameter 
  perimeters parameters 
pick pack
  picked packed
  picking packing
  picks packs
picked pact
picker packer
  pickers packers
picket packet 
  pickets packets 
picks pax
piddle paddle
  piddled paddled
  piddles paddles
  piddling paddling
pill pal
  pills pals
pillar pallor
pin pan
ping pang
pings pangs
pinned panned
pins pans
pip pap
pistil pastel
  pistils pastels
pistol pastel
  pistols pastels
piston pastern
  pistons pasterns
pit pat
  pits pats
  pitted patted
  pitting patting 
pitch patch
  pitched patched
  pitches patches 
  pitching patching 
pitied patted 
pity patty
  pities patties 
pixies paxes 
prim pram
  prims prams
prink prank
  prinks pranks
pyx packs
pyx pax
quick quack 
repine rapine
rich ratch
  riches ratches 
rick rack
  ricked racked
  ricking racking
  ricks racks
rick wrack
rickets rackets 
riddled raddled
riffle raffle
  riffled raffled
  riffles raffles
  riffling raffling 
rig rag
  rigged ragged
  rigging ragging
  rigs rags
rim ram
  rimmed rammed
  rimming ramming 
  rims rams
ring rang
rink rank
  rinks ranks
rip rap
  ripped rapped
  ripping rapping 
  rips raps
rip wrap
  ripped wrapped
  ripping wrapping
  rips wraps
ripped rapt
scribble scrabble
  scribbled scrabbled
  scribbles scrabbles
  scribbling scrabbling
scrip scrap
  scrips scraps
script scrapped
shindy shandy 
  shindies shandies 
shit shat
shrink shrank
sic sac
sic sack
sick sac
  sicks sacs
sick sack
  sicked sacked
  sicks sacks
sicks sax
Sid sad
silly sally 
  sillies sallies 
silver salver
  silvers salvers
Silvia salvia
sing sang
sink sank
sinned sand
sins sans
sip sap
  sipped sapped
  sipping sapping
  sips saps
sit sat
sitter satyr
  sitters satyrs
six sacks
six sacs
six sax
  sixes saxes 
skimp scamp
  skimped scamped
  skimping scamping
  skimps scamps
skimpy scampi 
skin scan
  skinned scanned
  skinning scanning
  skins scans
skint scant
skit scat
skitter scatter
  skittered scattered
  skittering scattering
  skitters scatters
slick slack
  slicks slacks
slicker slacker
  slickers slackers
slickest slackest
slim slam
  slimmed slammed
  slimming slamming
  slims slams
sling slang
  slinging slanging
  slings slangs
slip slap
  slipped slapped
  slipping slapping
  slips slaps
slip-up slap-up
slit slat
  slits slats
sliver slaver
  slivered slavered
  slivering slavering
  slivers slavers
snick snack
  snicks snacks
sniffle snaffle
  sniffled snaffled
  sniffles snaffles
  sniffling snaffling
snip snap
  snipped snapped
  snipping snapping
  snips snaps
snitch snatch
  snitched snatched
  snitches snatches
  snitching snatching
spin span
  spinning spanning
  spins spans
spit spat
  spits spats
  spitting spatting
spring sprang
sprit sprat
  sprits sprats
stick stack
  sticking stacking 
  sticks stacks
stink stank
strip strap
  stripped strapped
  stripping strapping
  strips straps
Styx stacks
swig swag
swim swam
think thank
  thinking thanking
  thinks thanks
tic tack
  tics tacks
tick tack
  ticked tacked
  ticks tacks
ticked tact
tickle tackle
  tickled tackled
  tickles tackles
  tickling tackling
ticks tax
tics tax
tiddley Tadley 
Timmy tammy
tin tan
  tinned tanned
  tinning tanning
  tins tans
ting tang
  tings tangs
tingle tangle
  tingled tangled
  tingles tangles
  tingling tangling
tinker tanker
  tinkers tankers
tinkered tankard
tip tap
  tipped tapped
  tipping tapping
  tips taps
tipster tapster
  tipsters tapsters
tit tat
  tits tats
titter tatter
  tittered tattered
  titters tatters
tittle tattle
topis topaz
trick track
  tricked tracked
  tricking tracking
  tricks tracks
tricked tract
trim tram
  trims trams
trip trap
  tripped trapped
  tripping trapping
  trips traps
tripper trapper
  trippers trappers
uninhibited uninhabited 
unpick unpack
  unpicked unpacked
  unpicks unpacks
Vic vac
villa valour
Whig wag
  Whigs wags
wick whack
  wicks whacks
wicker whacker
wicks wax
wig wag
  wigged wagged
  wigging wagging
  wigs wags
wiggle waggle
  wiggled waggled
  wiggles waggles
  wiggling waggling
wing whang
  winged whanged
  winging whanging
  wings whangs
wink wank
  winked wanked
  winking wanking
  winks wanks
wrick rack
  wricked racked
  wricking racking
  wricks racks
wrick wrack
wring rang		
wrinkle rankle
  wrinkled rankled
  wrinkles rankles
  wrinkling rankling
wrinkly rankly 
writ rat
  writs rats
Writtle rattle
zip zap
  zipped zapped
  zipping zapping
  zips zaps

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011.