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English spellings/Catalogs/B

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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  

This page lists pronunciations of English words that begin with B. To see a different letter navigate with the table above. The apostrophe is treated as the last letter of the alphabet, after Z.

For a pronunciation key, click on the blue "Catalogs" link below the article title.[e]


B = is = bêe insect

B-sîde, *bêeside, cf. besîde

bàa sheep = bàh exclamation = BrE bàr drink, chocolate, soap

Bà'ath party BrE = bāth water = Bāth city

baboôn

bâby-boômer

Bábylón

Bàch music = bàch Welsh *Bàkh

báchelor unmarried = Bátchelor

backbénch adjective one word

báckbiting one word

backfîre one word

báckhand tennis

back-hánded ambiguous

bácklash one word

bácklog one word

báckstab one word

backyàrd one word

bád evil = báde asked

bádly = Báddeley

Bágehot = Bádgett

Baghdád BrE; AmE Bághdad Bágd-

Bahàmas

Bahrâin *Bàa-râin; sometimes an Arabic h is sounded separately at the end of àh, producing a hypercorrect spelling pronunciation hr not heard elsewhere in English—though this is comparable to people with names like Mahmoôd having their aitches pronounced

bâil law, cricket = bâle hay, parachute

bâilie magistrate = Bâiley person (also Ôld Bâiley, London's law court)

bâit hook = bâte fury, restrain

bâize cloth = bâys bay

Bâkelîte has e as syllablic schwa: *Bâykəlite, BrE *Bâkerlîght

bâker

bálance = Bállance

Bálfour *Bálfer

Bálham *Bállum

Bàli island = BrE bàrley beer

bålk

Bålkans cf. bálcony

båll game = båwl shout

ballerìna cf. pizzerìa

bállèt *bállây, cf. bállot

Bâlliol

bàlm -àm

bàlmy sea = BrE bàrmy daft

Båltimore

báluster cf. bánister

bamboôzle

banàl BrE; AmE bânal

banálity

banāna

bánd group, round = bánned ban

bandôneon

bándwagon one word

Bangkók cf. Háncock, both -ngkó-

Bangladésh *Báng-gla-désh; *Bàng-gla-dèsh is a more local pronunciation

bánish

Baràck Obama = Baràk Ehud: According to Michelle Obama, "Barack-oli" sounds like bróccoli (in American English, ó = à), but many British speakers routinely mispronounce it as bárrack

Bàrbara cf. Barbéra

barbãrian

barbáric

bàrbecûe (is *bàrbeqûe, which looks like it's pronounced "barbêek", now an acceptable alternative?)[1]

Bàrça, short for Barcelôna

barcarólle or -óle

Bàrclay *Bàrcly

Bàrclays *Bàrclyz

bàrd poet, bacon = bàrred bar

Bardôt *Bardô makes a minimal pair with Bordeaux

bãre naked = béãr animal, tolerate

bãrely

Bárenbŏim

bàrgaín *bàrgin

bàrley

bàrman one word

bàr mítzvah

bàrnacle

bàrns = Bàrnes

Bàrnstaple

bàrnstàr

báron nobleman = bárren bare = Bárron = Báron

baróque BrE *bərók, AmE *barôke

bárrack, cf. Baràck = Baràk

bárràge -àzh BrE, AmE *bəràzh

bárrier

Barrôso -zu

bárrow = Bárrow

bàrtender

bâse basic = bâss treble, cf. báss fish = Báss person

Bàsel Switzerland, cf. Básil person

bâses base -ssíz = bâsses music

bâsês basis -ssêez

bâsic -ss-

Bâsie -ss- cf. Bássey (minimal pair)

básil = Básil -z-

bâsin -ss-

bâsis -ssíss

bāsk sun = Bāsque people

bāsketball one word

báss fish = Báss person

bâss treble = bâse basic

bassoôn (-ssoô-)

bâste pour, sew = bâsed located

batállion cf. báttle

bâte anger, breath = bâit lure

bāth = Bāth city cf. bâthe swim, final e signifying voiced th

bátón BrE, AmE batón; one t, cf. Pátton, Hátton etc.

Báton Roûge *Bátn Rûzh

báttlefield one word

båuble decoration, cf. búbble gas

båulk (mostly British, billiards spelling of bålk)

Bavãria

båwdy

Báx person = bácks back

Baŷer, Baŷern

bazàar *bəzàr, cf. bizàrre, *bí-zàr

Bà’ath party BrE = bāth water

bdéllium dé-

is = bêe insect

bêach sand = bêech tree

bêad string = Bêde person

bêan eat = bêen was

béãr tolerate, animal = bãre naked, cf. bêer drink, hêar listen

bêard cf. Bãird (minimal pair)

bêat win, hit, rhythm = bêet sugar

bêater beat BrE = bêta Greek

beatífic bêə-

beátify saint *bê-át-, cf. Sêáttle *Sê-áttle and beaûtify beauty byû-

beátitude bê-át-

Bêatríce, Bêatrix, a as schwa: Bêə-

beau boyfriend = Diddley

Beaûliêu England = Beŵlêy

beaûty *byûty, rhymes and forms a minimal pair with dûty

because ó

Béchèt *Béshây

Béckenham -nəm

Béckham -kəm

béckon

Bédouín

bêe insect = is

bêech tree = beâch sand

Beélzêbúb Bêe-él-

bêen was = bêan eat

bêer drink = bìêr coffin

bêet sugar = bêat hit

Bèethôven *Bâitovən

bêetle insect = Bêatle Beatles, cf. bêat rhythm, Bêtelgeûse

befŏrehand one word

bég

Bègg = Bâig

behālf *bihāf

behâve

behêmoth *bəhêməth or bêhemóth or *bêəməth

behôve BrE; AmE behoôve

bèige *bâyzh

Beijíng *Bây-jíng; some say 'zh' for j

bêíng cf. Bíng

Beirût *Bây-roôt

Bélarùs: once literally rendered as 'White Russia', and still 'Weißrussland' in German, this post-Soviet word should eventually regularise to *Bélərəs, comparable to Latinate names like Pándarus and Cërberus, but it hasn't happened yet and the pronunciation is still in the process of shifting away from Belarûs *Bélla Roôse

Belarûsian, Bélorússian, etc.

Bélfāst

Bélgium *Béljəm country forms a minimal pair with Bélgian nationality

belîe cf. relŷ, belŷing, lîe

belìêve

béll ring = bélle woman

Béllevûe

béllicôse

bellígerent -j-

béllow shout, bellows cf. belôw under

bélly

Bélvedêre

*belŷ belîe

bêma

Bénaud *Bénnô

bénchmark one word

bénefit

Bénettón

benévolent

Bengåli

benîgn -nîne

benígnant -nígnənt

Benìn -nêen

Beninêse

Bénjamin

Bénnett = Bénnet Jane Austen = Bénet

Bénzedrìne

bérèt *bérrây

bërk insult = Bürke person

Bërkelêy California cf. Bàrclaỳ person = BrE Berkeley person

Bërkshîre AmE; BrE *Bàkshə, as with bàrk dog, tree, Bàrking town

Berlín but usually transferred stress in Bërlin Wåll

Bërnard BrE; AmE Bernàrd

Bérne Switzerland = bãirn baby, or = bürn fire, brook

Bërnsteîn Leonard, Bërnstêin Elmer, Carl

bérry fruit = bury ground = Bury town = Bérry person

bërth ship = bïrth born

bêsom

bêta BrE; AmE bèta

Bêtelgeûse *Bêetlejûice, *Bétlgëz

Bétjeman *Bétcheman

Bétte Midler = bét; Béttê Davis = Bétty

béverage = Béveridge

Béverley England, etc. = Béverly Hills, etc.

bewãre one word, cf. bê awãre

bewíldered BrE *biwíldəd, AmE *bêwíldərd

bezìque *bəzêek

Bèzôs Jeff (BrE Bèzós)

Bhutàn

Bhutanêse

Bhùtto: this is the family's pronunciation, with the vowel sound of pùt, but since the death of Benazir the BBC and other broadcasters have taken to saying "Boôto"

bî- two = preposition = bŷ- extra = bŷe cricket, goodbye = buŷ sell = bisexual

bîas (plural bìases *bîəsíz) = Bŷas

bîased (one s) *bîəst

bíb cloth = bíbb lettuce

Bícester *Bíster

bìdet *bêedây

bìêr corpse = bêer drink

bîght loop = bîte teeth = bŷte computer

bígot rhymes with Píggott

Bilàwal Bhùtto Zardàri

Billerícay -rícky

Bíllie female = Bílly male = bílly goat

bíllôw, cf. belôw

bîô-

biógraphy

biólogy

bîôpic, biópic

Bïrmingham BrE *Bïrmingəm, AmE *Bïrming-hám, g not sounded separately

bïrthdate one word

bïrthplace one word

Bíscay

bíscuit *bísket makes a minimal pair with bāsket

bîson cf. bâsin

bísque *bísc

bít, past tense of bîte, as well as a noun meaning piece

bîte food = bŷte computer = bîght loop

bizàrre *bí-zàr, cf. bazàar *bəzàr

bláckcurrant cf. cúrrent

bláckguard rhymes with lággard

bláckmail

blàh blàh blàh

blānch white = Blānche person

blancmange *bləmónzh

blãre noise = Blãir person

blasphême, blasphêmer, blásphemy

blâtant rhymes with pâtent

bléssed *blést; but mostly as attributive adjective: a *bléssíd thíng

blóc grouping = blóck prevent, wood, building

Bloemfontein *Blùmfontâyn

blónd male person, male and female adjective = blónde female person

blòod *blúdd

blòodstained one word

blòodthirsty one word

blûe colour = bleŵ blow

blûeprint one word

blürred cf. cûred

Bǒ Xilaî *Båw-Shilî

bŏard wooden, directors = bŏred boring, cf. brŏad wide

bŏarder boarding = bŏrder edge

bôast

bôat makes a minimal pair with vôte

Boàteng Bwà-

bódíce

bódy

Boèhner *Bâyner cf. Groèning *Grâyning

Bôeing person = bôwing music

Boer *Bùer or = bŏre

bôgey golf, ghost = bôgie trolley, truck = Bôgey Bogart

Bogotá Spanish accent usually written; pronounced *Bogətàh

Bŏisê *Bŏicey

Bóko Haràm, or Bôko, or Harám, cf. Prôcol Hàrum

bôld brave = bôwled bowl

bôlder bold = bôulder rock

bôle tree = bôwl

Boleýn

Bólingbroke ends like broòk

Bóllywood

bôlt metal = Bôlt = Bôult persons

Bólton city, person = Bôulton person

bómb *bóm

bombàrd

bombardìer

Bombây

bómbing *bómming

bôna fîdê

bonhomìê, bonhommìê *bónóm-êe

Bóno

bónobo, bonôbo

boôgie-woôgie

boòk cf. búck

boòkcase one word: extended k sound

boòkkeeper one word: extended k sound

boòkshop one word

boôm (though usually boòm boòm)

boôn = Boône

boor rude = Boer South Africa *bùer or bŏre boring

boôs boo = boôze drink

boôst

Boôtes *Bwôtêz often has a diaeresis: Boötes

boôth = Boôth = Boôthe

boôty spoils = boôtie boot

boôze drink = boôs boo

Bordeaux *Bŏr-dô, *Bŏre-dôe, *Bŏre-dôugh, cf. Bardôt, *Bardô, same stress pattern, minimal pair

bŏrder edge = bŏarder boarding

bŏre boring, carried = bŏar animal

bŏred boring = bŏard wooden, directors

bŏredom *bŏrdum

Bŏrgia *Bŏrjə

bŏrn birth = bŏrne wind, out = bŏurn stream

bòrough town BrE -rə (*búrra), AmE = búrrow earth, cf. bórrow lend

bosom *bùzəm

Bósporus, or Bósphorus = phósphorus

bôth

bóttleneck

Bôtóx

boûgainvillea *bûgənvília

bòugh tree = bòw low, ship

Bóugh *Bóff

böught *båwt

bôulder rock = bôlder bold = Bôulder Colorado

Boûléz, z sounded

Boulogne *Bəlŏin

böurbon

bŏurgeois bŏrzhwà

bourgeoisìê bŏrzhwà-zêe

bŏurne stream = bŏrn birth = bŏrne carried

Bŏurnemouth *Bŏrnməth

bòw low, ship = bòugh tree

bôw knot, music, arrow = Bôw London =

bòwel

bòwer tree = bàuer euchre

Bôwie David

bôwl all other meanings = bôle tree

bóxing sport = Bóxing Day

bŏycott = Bŏycott

Bŏyd = buŏyed lifted

brâe hill = brây donkey

brâin head cf. Brîan person

brâinchîld one word

brâinwash one word

bránd

Brándeîs ends with îce

Brasília with an s pronounced z, Brazíl with a z: both have a buzzing s in the original Portuguese, but the former, a later import, preserves the original spelling

Brazíl country = Brazíle

Brazílian

bréad food = bréd breed

breâk smash, interval = brâke car

breâkaway adjective cf. breâk awây verb

breâkdown noun cf. breâk dòwn verb

bréakfast

breâkthroûgh noun *brâkethrû; cf. breâk throûgh verb

bréast = Brést

bréath noun unvoiced th, brêathe verb voiced th, cf. mòuth, same noun-verb distinction in pronunciation of the th, but always the same spelling, no *mòuthe

bréathtaking adjective one word

Brécon Wales cf. brácken plant (minimal pair)

bréd breed = bréad food

brêed animal cf. bréad food

Breîtbart *Brîghtbart

Breîvik (*Brŷvik) is closest to the native pronunciation of Anders Behring Breivik, but most English speakers say "Brèivik" (*Brâyvik)

bréthren -dhrən

breŵ

Bréxit

Bréxiter, or Brexitêer, after musketêer (The Thrêe Musketêers)

Brextrêmist

Brîan = Brŷan, cf. brâin, O'Brîen (one is more likely to meet a Brian O'Brien than a Brien O'Brian)

brìêf

Brídget makes a minimal pair with Brígid

brîght -ît

brîghten = Brîghton

Brísbane *Brízbən, rhymes with Lísbon

Brítain country -tən; = Bríton citizen, Brítten, Brítton, Bríttain persons

Bríttany FranceBrítney person

brŏad *bråwd, cf. bŏard = bŏred, minimal pairs

bróccolì *bróckəlêy

brôchure BrE *brôsher, brochûre AmE *brô-shûre

Brómwich *Brómmidge

Brónte *Brónty; often written Brontë (some say "Bróntây")

broôch pin AmE; BrE = brôach speak

broôm sweep = brûme mist

bróthel unvoiced th

bròther voiced th, making a minimal pair with its cockney equivalent, brúvver

Bròúgh *Brúff

broûgham carriage = broôm sweep; or -gha- as schwa, *brûəm

broûhàhà

bròw

bròwbeat

bròwse rhymes with ròuse -z

Brûges = Brûgge *Brûzh

brûise contusion *brûze = breŵs beer

brûsque *broôsk

Bruneî

Brunél

Brússels

Brzezínski Zbigniew *Brzinski

Búchan *Búkhən

Buchánan *Bùkánan

Bucharést *Bùkerést

búck = Búck cf. boòk, búxom

búd = Búd

Budapést *Bùdapést

búddy = Búddy

Bùddha -ùdə (cf. original spelling of Bùddah Récords)

Bùddhist -ùdi-

Buénos Aîres Argentina –ríz or Ãires *Ãríz, cf. Ãries Ram

búffalo = Búffalo

bùffèt eat *bùffây

búffet hit, t sounded

buffoôn -ffoô-

Bûíck

buíld *bíld

buílding *bílding

Bulawâyo

Bulgãria

bùll

bùlldôzer

bùlletin

bùllshit one word

bùlwark

búmblebee cf. Dímbleby

búmf

Búnsen bürner

buŏy sea BrE = bŏy child; bûoy sea AmE *bûêe

buŏyant *bŏyant

bürden load = Bürdon person

bûreau *byûrô, plural bûreaux, *byûrôz, cf. pólitburo

bureaucracy *byû-rócracy

bureaucrátic: -eau- as schwa: *byurəcrátic

bürger hamburger = bürgher business = Bërger person

bürgeoning

burial *bérrial, from bury

Burkìna Fáso -ss-

Bürma

bürn fire, stream = Bÿrne name cf. Bérne Switzerland

bürqa cf. bürger, BrE minimal pair

búrrow ground = AmE bòrôugh town cf. Búrrôughs person

bury ground = bérry tree = Bury England

bús transport = búss kiss

búsed driven or bússed = búst bosom, broke

búses plural, verb *bússes

bùsh

búsing -ss-

business *bízniss, cf. bíz, busy-ness, busyness being busy

businessman one word, bíz-

bússed or búsed driven = búst bosom, broken

busy bíz-

busybody *bízzybódy-, one word

busy-ness, busyness busy cf. business affair, money, both bíz-

bûte drug = beaût beautiful = Bûte Scotland

bútler = Bútler = Búttler

bútt head, joke, buttocks = bút however

bútterfly

bútton

búxom

buŷ sell = preposition = bŷ- incidental = bŷe cricket = bî- two = bisexual = Baŷh

bwàna

bŷe-bye!

bŷ-election

bŷ-product

Bÿrd person = bïrd fly

bŷte computer = bîte teeth = bîght bay

Býzantîne, Býzantìne, *Bŷ-zántîne, *Bŷ-zántíne; can be b- when meaning intricate

Byzántìum *Bŷ-zántìəm
  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/03/jeremy-corbyn-bernie-sanders-labour-leader