The spelling of /d/ in this list is <d> or <dd>. The /k/ sound has many spellings including <c>, <ck>, <cc> <ch> or <que>. Inflected forms with -s have been included even where not strictly minimal. See the discussion under "Problems" on the main page. The assimilation of /n/ plus /k/ to /ŋk/ leads to several pairs involving one past tense form such as banged/bank. Notice how the homograph read makes pairs with reek and wreck.
The contrast is between a voiced and a voiceless plosive, well separated in the mouth. It may sometimes cause problems in syllable-final position, especially for Dutch and German learners who do not have a final /d/.
Taboo word pairs incude bollards/ballocks, cod/cock, dock/cock, peed/peak and whanged/wank.
One of these pairs figures memorably in Ogden Nash's verse Reflections on Ice-breaking: "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." Other interesting pairs include:
The mean density value is 3%. The list makes 349 semantic distinctions, a loading of 59%.
Adelaide accolade adieux accuse adored accord aid ache aiding aching aids aches allied alike awed auk baa'd bark baa'd barque bad back bade back Baldock ballcock bank banged bard bark bards barks bard barque bards barques bawd balk bawd balks bayed bake bead beak beads beaks bed beck beds becks belied belike bidder bicker bidders bickers bide bike biding biking bides bikes billed bilk bird burke birds burkes bladder blacker bleed bleak blowed bloke board balk boarding balking boards balks bollard ballock bollards ballocks braid brake braiding braking braids brakes braid braeak braiding breaking braids breaks brayed brake brayed break bud buck budding bucking buds bucks buddy Buckie build bilk building bilking builds bilks bunged bunk buttered buttock cawed cork cedar seeker cedars seekers cede seek ceding seeking cedes seeks cede Sikh cedes Sikhs chawed chalk Cheddar checker chid chick chord cork chords corks clad clack clanged clank clod clock cod cock codding cocking cods cocks coddle cockle coddles cockles code coke coding coking codes cokes cord cork cords corks cordage corkage cording calking could cook crëpe drape creed creak creeds creaks crowed croak curd kirk curds kirks D key D's keys dab cab dabs cabs dace case dacha catcher dachas catchers dad cad dads cads daddy caddie daddies caddies dale kail Dallas callous dam cam dams cams dame came damn cam damns cams damp camp damped camped damping camping damps camps damper camper dampers campers Dan Cannes dandle candle dandles candles dandy candy dandies candies Dane cane Danes canes Danny canny dare care dared cared dares cares daring caring Darkey khaki darn Calne darn khan darns khans dart cart darted carted darting carting darts carts dash cache dashed cached dashes caches dashing caching dash cash dashed cashed dashes cashes dashing cashing date Kate Dave cave daw caw daws caws daw cor daw core daws cores daws cause dawn corn dawned corned dawning corning dawns corns day K days K's dead deck deal keel dealing keeling deals keels dealt Celt debarred debark decode decoke decoding decoking decodes decokes deign cane deigned caned deigning caning deigns canes den ken dens kens Denny Kenny dent Kent depredation deprecation depredations deprecations derby Kirkby derv curve dew Q dhow cow dhows cows dhows Cowes died dike dine kine dined kind dinky kinky dinkier kinkier dinkiest kinkiest dip kip dipped kipped dips kips dipping kipping dirk kirk dirks kirks ditties kitties ditty Kitty do Co do coo doing cooing do's coos dock cock docked cocked docking codding docks cocks docker cocker dockers cockers dodder docker dodders dockers dodger codger dodgers codgers doff cough doffed coughed doffing coughing doffs coughs dog cog dogs cogs doily coyly dole coal doled coaled doles coals doling coaling doll col dolls cols dollar choler dollars cholers dolly collie dollies collies dolt colt dolts colts doltish coltish dome comb domed combed domes combs domination commination don con donned conned donning conning dons cons door caw doors caws door cor door core doors cores doors cause dope cope doped coped dopes copes doping coping Dorking calking Dorking corking Dorset corset dosed coast dossed cost dot cot dots cots dote coat doted coated dotes coats doting coating dower cower dowered cowered dowering cowering dowers cowers dowered coward dowse cows dowse Cowes dozen cousin dozens cousins dozey cosy dozes cosies drab crab drachm cram drachms crams dram cram drams crams draft craft drafts crafts draftsman craftsman drag crag drags crags drain crane drained craned draining craning drains cranes drake crake drakes crakes drank crank draughty crafty draughtier craftier draughtiest craftiest drawer crore drawers crores drawl crawl drawled crawled drawling crawling drawls crawls drays craze dream cream dreamed creamed dreaming creaming dreams creams dreamy creamy dreamier creamier dreamiest creamiest dress cress dressed crest drew crew drier crier driers criers dripped crypt drone crone drones crones droop croup droops croups drop crop dropped cropped dropping cropping drops crops dross cross drown crown drowned crowned drowning crowning drowns crowns drum crumb drums crumbs dry cry dried cried drying crying dries cries dub cub dubs cubs dud duck duds ducks dude duke Dudley cuddly due Q dues Q's dull cull dulled culled dulls culls dulling culling dullard coloured duller colour dumb come dumber comer dumbly comely dunning cunning durable curable durability curability during curing durst cursed dwell quell dwelling quelling dwells quells end enc erred irk fade fake fading faking fades fakes fiddle fickle flayed flake fled fleck ford fork fording forking fords forks freed freak gaud gawk gaudy gawky gaudier gawkier gaudiest gawkiest gaudy Gorky girder Gurkha girders Gurkhas greed Greek had hack hammered hammock hanged hank hard hark hawed hawk head heck hid hick hide hike hiding hiking hides hikes hoard hawk hoarding hawking hoards hawks hoarder hawker hoarders hawkers hod hock hood hook hooding hooking hoods hooks horde Hawk hordes hawks hulled hulk jade Jake kid kick kidding kicking kids kicks lad lack ladder lacquer laddered lacquered laddering lacquering ladders lacquers laddie lackey laddies lackeys lade lake lard lakh lard lark larding larking lards larks lead leak leading leaking leads leaks lead leek leads leeks Leeds leaks Leeds leeks lid lick lids licks lied like mad mac made make maid make maids makes marred Mach marred mark mattered mattock mead meek Mede meak middle mickle middy Mickey midst mixed milled milk misted mystic Mod mock mode moke modes mokes mud muck mudding mucking muddle muckle muddy mucky muddier muckier muddiest muckiest Ned neck nod knock nods knocks nodding knocking ode oak odour ochre opted optic owed oak pad pack padding packing pads packs pads pax pawed pork peed peak peed peek peed pique piddle pickle piddled pickled piddles pickles piddling pickling pied pike pinged pink pod pock pods pocks pods pox purred perk quid quick raid rake raiding raking raids rakes read reek read wreck reading reeking Reading wrecking ready recce readies recces red wreck redder wrecker remade remake rid rick rids ricks ridding ricking ride Reich ringed rink rod roc rods rocs rod rock rods rocks rusted rustic Ryde Reich sad sack said sec sculled skulk seed seek seeds seeks seeding seeking seed Sikh seeds Sikhs shad shack shade shake shades shakes shading shaking shadings shakings shade sheikh shades sheikhs shady shaky shadier shakier shadiest shakiest shard shark shards sharks shod shock should shook sidle cycle sidled cycled sidles cycles sidling cycling sleighed slake slid slick snood snook sod sock sodding socking sods socks sowed soak spade spake spayed spake sparred spark sped spec speed speak speeding speaking speeds speaks spied spike Spode spoke staid stake starred stark stored stalk stowed stoke stride strike striding striking strides strikes strode stroke stud stuck suffered Suffolk Ted Tech teed teak tiddler tickler tiddlers ticklers tide tike tides tikes tied tike toad toque toads toques trad track tread trek treading trekking treads treks tweed tweak wade wake wading waking wades wakes ward walk warding walking wards walks warder walker warders walkers weed weak weed week weed weak weeds weeks weld whelk whanged wank wheedling weakling whirred work winged wink woad woke word work words works wording working wordbook workbook wordbooks workbooks yawed York yodel yokel yodels yokels
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, February 2010.