400 words with silent letters, arranged by level

Summary: List of words with letters which are not pronounced, from Beginner level to very Advanced levels.

This is a list of important words to learn the pronunciation of because at least one letter is spelt but not said. It is given in approximate order of when to learn them, starting with words with silent letters which are vital even for very low-level learners and ending with useful words which even very high-level learners might not know. This site also has an article on how to teach words with silent letters and worksheets on some of the words, spellings, letter combinations and silent letters in this list.

 

Elementary words with silent letters/ A1-level words with silent letters

answer

autumn

ballet

biscuit

buffet

build

business

Christmas

climb/ climber

could

cupboard

hour

island

knife

know/ knows/ knew

listen

raspberry

receipt

sandwich

science/ scientist

scissors

should

Wednesday

what

when

where

which

whiskey/ whisky

white

who/ whose

why

would

wrap

wrestling

write

wrong

yoghurt

 

Pre-Intermediate words with silent letters/ A2-level words with silent letters

aisle

anywhere/ everywhere/ nowhere/ somewhere

bomb

built

castle

comb

exhibition

foreign/ foreigner

ghost

guarantee

guard

handkerchief

handsome

honest

iron/ ironing

knee

knit/ knitting

lamb

listener

muscle

plumber

rhyme/ rhyming

rhythm

scenery

thumb

whale

wheat

wheel/ wheelchair

whether

while

whistle

whole

wrote

 

Intermediate words with silent letters/ B1-level words with silent letters

acquaintance

artistically

basically

bomber

cabaret

campaign/ campaigner

chalet

column/ columnist

comically

debt

dishonest

doubt/ doubtful

exhausted/ exhausting

fascinated/ fascinating

fasten/ unfasten

gourmet

hourly

knapsack

knight/ knighthood

knock/ knocker

knot

knowledge

meanwhile

medically

mortgage

parliament

physically

politically

psychiatrist/ psychiatry

psychologist/ psychology

psychotherapy

rhino/ rhinoceros

sachet

salmon

scene

somewhat

sorbet

specifically

sword

tomb

typically

vehicle

whereabouts

whereas

whilst

whirlwind

whisper

whistle

whodunnit

wholemeal

wholesale

whom

worthwhile

wrapper

wreath

wrist

 

 

Upper Intermediate words with silent letters/ B2-level words with silent letters

acquire/ acquisition

asthma/ asthmatic

beret

bidet

breadcrumbs/ crumbs

condemn

coup

critically

cynically

damn

descend/ descent

diarrhoea/ diarrhea

dumb

elsewhere

ethically

exhaustion

exhibitor

exhilarated/ exhilarating

genetically

guardian

hasten

heir/ heirloom

honour/ honourable

hymn

isle

kneel

knickers

knob

leopard

miscellaneous

obscene/ obscenity

overwhelm/ underwhelm

playwright

pneumonia

pseudonym

psychic

reign/ reigning

rendezvous

rhetoric/ rhetorical

scent/ scented

silhouette

soften/ softener

solemn

tragically

wharf

whichever

whip/ whiplash

whisk

whiten

whoever

wholly

wrench

wrestle

wrinkle/ wrinkled/ wrinkly

 

Advanced and Proficiency words with silent letters/ C1- and C2-level words with silent letters

abscess

acquit/ acquittal

aghast

aplomb

apostle

apropos

arraign/ arraignment

ascend/ ascent

awhile

bourgeois

bristle/ bristly

bustle/ bustling

cachet

catacomb

chez

crochet

debris

debtor

deign

depot

diaphragm

disciple

epistle

erstwhile

exhaust

faux

feign

fluorescent

ghastly/ ghastliness

ghoul/ ghoulish

glisten/ glistening

gnarl/ gnarly

gnash

gnat

gnaw

gnome/ gnomic

gnu

gristle/ grisly

hustle/ hustler

indict/ indictment

ironically

islet

isthmus

jamb

jeopardy

jostle

knack

knackered

knave

knead

knickknack

knoll

knuckle

laissez faire

limb

mnemonic

moisten

narwhal

nestle

numb/ numbness

parliamentary

pestle

phlegm

playwright

plumb

pneumatic

pneumonic

psalm

pseud

pseudo

psyche

psycho/ psychotic

rapport

redoubt/ redoubtable

rhapsodic/ rhapsody/ rhapsodise

rheumatoid arthritis

rhinestone

rhinoplasty

rhododendron

rhombic/ rhomboid

rhubarb

ricochet

rustle/ rustler

scenario

sciatic/ sciatica

scimitar

scintilla

scintillating

scion

shipwright

solemnity

soubriquet

subtle/ subtleness

succumb

thistle

tourniquet

trestle

valet

vehement

viscount

whack

whacko

wham/ whammy

wheedle/ wheedling

wheelie

wheeze/ wheeziness

whelk

wherein

whet/ whetstone

whey

whiff/ whiffy

whim

whimper

whimsy/ whimsical

whine/ whiny

whinge

whirl

whirr

whiskers

whist

whittle

whiz

whoop/ whoopee

whoops

whoosh

whopper/ whopping

whore

womb

wraith

wrangle/ wrangler

wrath/ wrathful

wreak

wreck/ wreckage

wren

wrest

wretch/ wretched

wriggle/ wriggly

wring/ wringer

writ

writhe

wronged/ wrongful

wrought

wrung

wry

 

Copyright © 2020

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com

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