Legal English Lesson: Words with a Silent B

Some words in English have a silent B letter – that means that we do not pronounce it, so the letter is ‘silent’.

Have you ever wondered which Legal English words have a silent B?

Let’s have a look at a few examples. 


Debt has a silent B and the word is pronounced /det/ (UK).

My client asked me if I knew any reliable debt collectors.

If you’re struggling to keep up with debt payments, you can seek legal advice.


Debtor is pronounced /ˈdet.ər/ (UK). We do not pronounce B.

The new legislation is going to protect vulnerable debtors.


Doubt is pronounced /daʊt/ (UK).

The prosecution needs to prove to the court beyond reasonable doubt that ..


Bomb is a surprising word for many students as quite often in their mother tongue it is pronounced with B. In English it is pronounced /bɒm/ (UK).

The police found a bomb in the defendant’s suitcase.

General English: other examples

  • Climb UK /klaɪm/
  • Lamb UK /læm/
  • Thumb UK /θʌm/
  • Subtle UK /ˈsʌt.əl/

She decided to move to the charity sector as she did not want to climb the corporate ladder.

Ann really liked ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and the prison scene.

Can you think of any other words like this?

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