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According to this Guardian article, about the book “P is Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever”, there is one word in the English language which starts with a silent B. Unfortunately, they don’t tell us which word it is, and I’d quite like to know!

marked as duplicate by Laurel, user240918, Mitch, linguisticturn, Tim Dec 5 '18 at 16:19

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  • Something tells me that purchasing the book might tell you. ;) – Ian MacDonald Dec 5 '18 at 15:55
  • @Laurel golly, that question is horrifically poorly titled! – Tim Dec 5 '18 at 16:01
  • I loved Troy McClure in 'P' Is for 'Psycho'. – choster Dec 5 '18 at 16:06

The word is ”Bdellium” pronounced /ˈdɛliəm/. It is a semi-transparent resin, extracted from trees in Africa. It is used as an incense, and is sometimes passed off as myrrh, due to the price difference.

It is sometimes spelt “Bdellion”, and comes from the Greek “βδέλλιον.

  • 2
    Here's the relevant page from the book: link. – linguisticturn Dec 5 '18 at 16:07
  • And there's also the biological term Bdelloid, from the same root, which names a class of rotifers that's distinguished for being parthenogenic (i.e, no males). – John Lawler Dec 5 '18 at 16:55

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