Apart from "psychology" and "pneumonia" are there other words in which the letter "p" is not pronounced?

I've tried to get examples of some of them apart from these two words, but I didn't find any.

  • 1
    I suspect that such words will all have Greek roots. Check here: List of Greek and Latin roots in English/P–Z
    – Mick
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 9:06
  • Related: Pterodactyl and Archeopteryx: Silent P vs Voiced P - english.stackexchange.com/questions/103014/…
    – user29952
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 9:15
  • 1
    @Mick - My problem with this question is a shameful lack of research. This is easily checked on Google.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 10:59
  • @J.R. I searched very well (as it was noticed in the post). I didn't use your wording and therefore my results were nothing. Please, don't judge or blame with laziness. I'm not a such person. As a non English native speaker I'm in process of learning and always I'm open to listen how I can improve my search or wording etc. Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 11:11
  • 3
    One way you could improve your questions is to share how you searched. Saying “I tried but didn’t find” doesn’t say much. Tried where? Tried how? If you said something like, “I searched on Google for words that begin with P which p is not pronounced”, that would be much better.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


As stated by etymonline the letter P in the initial position was quite uncommon in Old English. It became more and more common later with the adoption of foreign terms from Latin and Greek.


  • a rare letter in the initial position in Germanic, in part because by Grimm's Law PIE p- became Germanic f-; even with the early Latin borrowings in Old English, -p- takes up a little over 4 pages in J.R. Clark Hall's "Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary," compared to 31 pages for B and more than 36 for F. But it now is the third-most-common initial letter in the English vocabulary, and with C and S comprises nearly a third of the dictionary, a testimony to the flood of words that have entered the language since 1066 from Latin, Greek, and French.

As noted, most terms with a silent initial P are of Greek origin:

  • It’s from Greek, which brings us to another source of silent letters. Classical Greek allowed several other consonant clusters that violate modern English phonotactic rules. As a result, Greek borrowings that begin with these clusters get simplified by losing that first consonant. In addition to the GN cluster of gnome and Gnostic, Greek had several clusters beginning with P. The cluster PN appears in pneumonia, and PS in words such as psalm and psychiatry. The cluster PT shows up in the root pter-, which means “wing,” in words such as pterodactyl.

Source: QuickandDirtyTips

As for the list you can find an almost exhaustive one here

  • 1
    About receipt I've never know and it even suprises me. I always pronounced it and if I'm not mistaken all of the people around me too. But maybe it just seemed to me like that and it's my mistake. Thank you. Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 11:32
  • 1
    @VersatileandAffordable - Receipt, see here: dictionary.cambridge.org/it/dizionario/inglese/receipt
    – user29952
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 11:35
  • I already saw it before I wrote my comment) my comment should be like that: "About receipt I've never know and it even suprises me after checking in dictionaries and ensuring that it's true." Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 11:40
  • 1
    I would not agree that the list is 'almost exhaustive'. It omits (for instance) many words beginning with 'pseudo' e.g. 'pseudonym'.
    – abligh
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 13:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .