The /s/ sound is spelled with <s>, <ss>, <ce> or <sw> in sword. The /l/ sound is spelled with <l> or <ll>.
The computer brought up 33 pairs in which /s/ contrasts with a syllabic /l/ such as acquits/acquittal. These do not feel like minimal pairs since the syllable count is different, so I have listed them separately at the end of the main list. Another case where the status of the pair is doubtful because of the syllable count is rashness/rational, but I left that in the main list.
This is a contrast between a voiceless sibilant fricative and a voiced lateral continuant. It causes no problems.
The only taboo word pair is piss/pill.
Several pairs arise from deriving two adjectives with slightly different meanings from one noun, such as ceremomious/ceremonial or industrious/industrial. Other interesting pairs include:
The mean density value is 2%. The list makes 317 semantic distinctions, a loading of 59%.
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loafer sofas loafers soft loft softie lofty Sol loll solely lowly song long songs longs soon loon sooner lunar sop lop sopped lopped sopping lopping sops lops sore law sores laws sore lor sore lore sorrel laurel sorrels laurels sorry lorry sot lot sots lots sou lieu sou loo sous loos sough luff soughed luffed soughing luffing soughs luffs soup loop souped looped soups loops sour lour soured loured souring louring sours lours souse louse sow lo sow low sowing lowing sows lows sowed lowed suck luck sucks luxe suit loot suits loots suited looted suiting looting suitor looter suitors looters sump lump sumps lumps sussed lust susses sullies Swiss swill sword laud swords lauds sword lord swords lords taxing tackling Tess tell trace trail tracing trailing traced trailed tracer trailer tracers trailers undersign underline undersigned underlined undersigning underlining undersigns underlines unsighted unlighted unsigned unlined Venus venal vest veld vice vile virtuous virtual vitreous vitriol voice voile west welt whist wilt worse whirl yes yellPairs which contrast /s/ versus /ļ/ (syllabic /l/)
acquits acquittal aesthetics aesthetical cervix cervical Classics classical clerics clerical clinics clinical comics comical critics critical cynics cynical dukes ducal economics economical electrics electrical ethics ethical fanatics fanatical logics logical lyrics lyrical mathematics mathematical mechanics mechanical medics medical metaphysics metaphysical metrics metrical monarchs monocle mystics mystical numerics numerical obstetrics obstetrical optics optical orbits orbital palates palatal physics physical psychics psychical recites recital requites requital resets resettle statistics statistical stoics stoical strategics strategical tactics tactical therapeutics therapeutical topics topical tropics tropical
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.