Minimal Pair List Consonants /h/ versus /w/, 257 pairs

   Minimal pair: Consonants /h/ versus /w/, 257 pairs

The /h/ sound is spelled with <h> or <wh> in who . The /w/ sound is spelled with <w> or <wh>.

This is a contrast between a voiceless glottal fricative and a voiced bilabial semivowel, only occurring in syllable-initial position. In spite of the different position and manner of articulation, this can be a problem for some learners, particularly the Mediterranean speakers whose own language lacks /h/, especially before back vowels.

Taboo word pairs include hank/wank and he/wee .

We come across this pair in the traditional exhortation:

Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise.

Other interesting pairs include:

hollow wallow
hysteria wisteria

The mean density value is fairly high at 6.3%. The lists make 137 semantic distinctions, a loading of 53%.

hack whack
  hacked whacked
  hacking whacking
  hacks whacks
hacks wax
hag wag
  hags wags
haggle waggle
  haggled waggled
  haggles waggles
  haggling waggling
hail wail
  hailed wailed
  hails wails
  hailing wailing
hail whale
hails Wales  
hair wear
  hairs wears
hair ware
  hairs wares
hairy wary
  hairier warier
  hairiest wariest
  hairiness wariness
Haiti weighty
hake wake
hale wail 
hale whale
hall wall
  halls walls
halter Walter 
hang whang
  hanged whanged
  hanging whanging
  hangs whangs
hank wank
  hanks wanks  
hare ware  
  hares wares
hare wear
  haring wearing
  hares wears
haste waist
haste waste
hate wait
  hated waited
  hates waits
  hating waiting
hate weight
  hated weighted
  hates weughts
  hating weighting
haul wall
  hauled walled
  hauling walling
  hauls walls
haulm warm
Havering wavering
haw war		
  haws wars
hawed ward
hawk walk
  hawked walked
  hawking walking
  hawks walks
hawker walker
  hawkers walkers
hay way
hay weigh
Hayling wailing
haze ways
haze weighs
he we
he wee
head wed
  headed wedded
  heads weds
heading wedding
  headings weddings
heal wheel
  heals wheels
  healed wheeled
  healing wheeling
healed weald
healed wield
health wealth
healthy wealthy
  healthier wealthier
  healthiest wealthiest
  healthily wealthily
heap weep
  heaping weeping
  heaps weeps
hear Wear 
hear weir
  hears weirs
heard whirred
heard word
hearse worse
heather weather
  heathers weathers
heave weave
  heaves weaves
  heaving weaving
hedge wedge
  hedged wedged
  hedges wedges
  hedging wedging
heed weed
  heeded weeded
  heeding weeding
  heeds weeds
heel wheel
  heels wheels
  heeled wheeled
  heeling wheeling
heeled weald
heeled wield
height Wight 
height white
  heights whites
heighten whiten
  heightened whitened
  heightening whitening
  heightens whitens
held weld
hell well
  hells wells 
help whelp
  helped whelped
  helping whelping
  helps whelps
hen wen
  hens wens
hence whence
her were
her whirr
  hers whirrs
herd whirred
herd word
  herded worded
  herding wording
  herds words
Herr Ware
Herr wear
hi why
hi Y 
hick wick 
  hicks wicks
hide wide
hie why
hie Y
  hies Y's 
high why
high Y
higher wire
highly wily
hilly Willie 
hilt wilt
  hilts wilts
him whim
hind whined
hind wind
  hinds winds
hippie whippy
hire wire
  hired wired
  hires wires
  hiring wiring
his whizz
hissed whist
hitch witch
  hitches witches
  hitching witching
hither whither
hive wive
  hived wived
  hives wives
  hiving wiving
ho whoa
ho woe
hoar war
hoard ward
  hoarded warded
  hoarding warding
  hoards wards
hoard warred
hoarder warder
  hoarders warders
hobble wobble
  hobbled wobbled
  hobbles wobbles
  hobbling wobbling
hod wad
  hods wads
hoe whoa
hoe woe
  hoes woes
hoed woad
hold wold
  holds wolds
holler wallah
  hollers wallahs
hollow wallow
  hollows wallows
  hollowed wallowed
  hollowing wallowing
holly Wally 
Hon wan
Hoo woo
hood wood
  hooded wooded
  hoods woods
hoof woof
  hoofs woofs
hop whop
  hopped whopped
  hopping whopping
  hops whops
hopper whopper
  hoppers whoppers
Horley Warley
horn warn
  horned warned
  horning warning
  horns warns
Hosp wasp
hot watt
hot what
hound wound
house wows
Hove wove
how wow
Huns ones
hurl whirl
  hurled whirled
  hurling whirling
  hurls whirls
hurry worry
  hurried worried
  hurries worries
  hurrying worrying
hurt wert
hymn whim
  hymns whims
hysteria wisteria
reheard reword
unhurried unworried
who woo
whom womb
whore war
  whores wars
whore wore
whoremonger warmonger 
  whoremongers warmongers 
whose woos