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B (letter)

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B, b is a letter of the Latin alphabet. It is the second letter of most variants, being placed after A and before C, as is the case for instance in the English alphabet. Its English name is pronounced [ˈbiː], like bee and be.

Use in English

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Use in English
Alphabetical word list
Retroalphabetical list  
Common misspellings  

b is usually a voiced bilabial stop, the unvoiced equivalent of p: bíg, bág, bát, bún, beaûty, bôth, Albânia, câble, tâble, Bâbel, Róbert, bòunce, ábstract, hërb, distürb, abhŏr, sâbre, câber, bít, túb, bábble.

  • The accents show stress and pronunciation (see English spellings): A: sát, mâde, pàrk, cāst (cást/càst), åll, ãir; E: ére, êar, vèin, fërn; I: sít, mîne, skì, bïrd; O: sóng, môde, lòve, wörd, ŏr; OO: moôn, foòt; U: sún, mûse, fùll, pürr; W: neŵ, ẁant; Y: gým, mŷ, keỳ, mÿrrh.

It is doubled after short vowels: ébb, fíbber, rábble, góbble, rúbble, clúbber, Débbie, clúbbed, drúbbing - but not when written as a double vowel: doúble, troúble.

It begins consonant clusters: bréad, ábdicate, abhŏr, abjûre, óblong, ábnegate, breâk, absürd, abscónd, abstâin, ábstract.

b is silent in two positions: final, after m: lámb, cômb, thúmb, límb, clîmb, dúmb, thúmb and tomb (which rhymes with doôm) and occasionally before t: dòubt, súbtle, débt.

Beijing and Belarus, Bombay and Burma

...Or should that be Peking and Byelorussia (old names for the first pair), Mumbai and Myanmar (new names for the second)?

Unsurprisingly, none of the new names has yet attained a single established pronunciation. Pekíng (*P. Kíng) is now either *Bèi-zhíng or, as written, Beijíng. Bürma has become Myánmar, or perhaps *Mêeanmar or even Mŷanmar, though Burmêse is still Burmêse. Bombây is now Mumbaî, or Mùmbaî or even Múmbaî. Byélorússia or Bélorússia, once better known as Whîte Rússia, a literal translation, is now Belarùs or Belarûs (*Bélla Roôse) and occasionally, and more regularly, Bélarus, while Byélorússian gives a choice of Bélarússian, Belarûsan, or Belarûsian, rhyming with confûsion.

Scientific uses

  • B is the symbol for the chemical element boron.
  • B: magnetic field vector