Pretty much every occurrence of th I can think of see are pronounced as /θ/ or very similar sounds (sometimes slightly closer to f or s).

Still, does th appear in any English word pronounced as two distinct phonemes, /th/ ? I can think of some portmanteaus where the first word ends with t and the other begins with h (e.g. "pothead") but does it ever appear naturally as that pair of phonemes in words, not brought together as part of portmanteaus or blends?

  • Other than the hothouses it is difficult to think of any. – WS2 Nov 28 '13 at 8:50
  • other portmanteaus include knighthood, lighthouse, apartheid – Phil M Jones Nov 28 '13 at 9:01
  • Funnily enough, I invariably pronounce apartheid with a th ;) – mplungjan Nov 28 '13 at 9:19
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    Aren't you using "portmanteaus" to describe compounds? – MSalters Nov 28 '13 at 16:31
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    Possible duplicate of Why is "Theresa" pronunced with the plosive /t/? That other question is actually younger, but has better answers IMO. – chirlu Jan 7 '18 at 9:58

In the geographical names: Thames, Thame, Theale (although local opinion appears to be divided on that one), Thailand, Lesotho.

In the names "Thomas", "Thomson", "Esther".

The only common noun, i.e. not a proper noun, I can think of is "thyme".


The river Thames, Thailand, thalweg (geographical term, although sometimes spelled talweg), Theresa are some.

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