The other day, I was discussing the pronunciation of fridge with friends on a social media group. They insisted that the d in fridge is completely silent. Is that so? I have always said it with a slight d sound. Which is correct?

  • 1
    Where are your friends from? Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 2:47
  • 1
    We're all in India. Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 3:39
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    It's silent the way the first 't' in letter is silent. Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 12:09
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    Or more accurately, the way that the 't' in batch is silent.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 21:48
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    @MohanSivanand: I'm saying that the "ch" sound, being an affricate /t͡ʃ/, already starts off as a /t/ sound. The grapheme "tch" is thus phonetically "redundant", except that it disambiguates batch from Bach.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 13:33

5 Answers 5


First, we must distinguish spelling from pronunciation. As we all know, there are words that have excess letters (e.g., "though") or inconsistent letters ("jump" but "ginger", "height" but "fight"). So we can't really operate on the principle that English spelling is a 1-to-1 mapping of letters to sounds.

In this case, it's best to think of "dg" making a single sound, just as "th" and "sh", do. It's not that "th" can be decomposed into a "t" part and an "h" part. You'll find that pronouncing those two sounds in sequence does not produce the same sound as in "th". So it's probably best to treat "dg" the same way, and consider it to be an idiosyncratic way to spell the affricate sound we represent with /dʒ/ in IPA (usually often ligatured to indicate that it's one flowing sound).

Another angle is to consider alternatives. If it were spelled "frige", you might expect it to have the same vowel as in "site", not as in "sit". You might propose "frij", but we don't allow j's at the end of words in English, except in foreign words like Hajj. And if it was just "frig", you'd expect it to be pronounced like "sprig", with a so-called hard G. Thus it's likely that the spellers of English chose "dg" to be a double consonant to indicate that the vowel beforehand is short. They may have also chosen it to contrast with French, where "g" is a kind of "zh" sound as in "pleasure". Why not go with "gg"? It was actually common in the Middle Ages, but fell out of style. There's not a lot of strong logic to some of the decisions that were made in the standardization of English spelling.

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    That's right: English has a many-to-many bidirectional mapping between letters and sounds, and neither need be just one unit at a time either because sometimes several letters together map to just one or another sound, but other times it's several sounds together that map to just one or another letter. Or worse.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 4:34
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    For words spelled similarly without the "d", all I can think of is "oblige", which is pronounced completely differently. Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 13:52
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    @DarrelHoffman Many, many, MANY words written with ‹g› have a /d/ in them, far more than you can ever count: allergy, gist, surgeon, logic, forge, George, sage, rage, page, region, legion, giant, outrage, frigid, magic, umbrage, origin, savage, gin, Belgium, giraffe, biology, biologist, ravage, cogitate, register, engine, energy, ginger, Glaswegian, legible, Marge, digit, oxygen, nitrogen, pelagic, gauge, privilege, refuge. The list goes ever on and on. For exceptions where the /d/ is silent look to French imports like beige and mirage.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 19:26
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    @tchrist Maybe, depending on your dialect. But it's never spelled with a "d". And I think the change in vowel sound has a significant effect on that. Point being that if you took the letter "d" out of "fridge" or "midge" or "cartridge" etc., it would more likely be pronounced like "oblige" with a long "i". Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 20:03
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    Pigeon and widgeon suggest to me that it's a bit pointless looking for rules here.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 21:03

Yes, there is a slight d sound in fridge and vestige just as there is a slight d sound in legion but not in lesion. In the same way, there is a slight t sound in which but not in wish. This has nothing to do with the spellings of any of those words.

fridge is /fɻɪd͡ʒ/

It's not really possible to answer your question the way it's asked. That’s because we can only talk about pronunciations in terms of sounds, not letters. So let's talk about the pronunciation.

The pronunciation of fridge is /fɻɪd͡ʒ/ in most dialects. That contains the following four phonemes:

  1. /f/: voiceless labiodental fricative
  2. /ɻ/: voiced retroflex approximant
  3. /ɪ/: near-close near-front unrounded vowel
  4. /d͡ʒ/: voiced palato-alveolar sibilant affricate

Because it's an affricate, that last one isn't really decomposable into two different phonemes, because we don’t think of it that way. However, both its pieces can occur as distinct phonemes in English, as they do in words like delusion and pleasured.

ridge is /ɻɪd͡ʒ/

As for ridge, that’s got the same three phonemes as fridge ends with: /ɻɪd͡ʒ/.

  1. /ɻ/: voiced retroflex approximant
  2. /ɪ/: near-close near-front unrounded vowel
  3. /d͡ʒ/: voiced palato-alveolar sibilant affricate

rich is /ɻɪt͡ʃ/

But another way to think of ridge is that it’s simply the voiced version of rich, which is /ɻɪt͡ʃ/, now with these three phonemes:

  1. /ɻ/: voiced retroflex approximant
  2. /ɪ/: near-close near-front unrounded vowel
  3. /t͡ʃ/: voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant affricate

So the only difference between rich and ridge is that the one ends in the unvoiced version and the other in the voiced version of the same final phoneme, a coärticulated affricate that has two different pieces sounded almost together, ending in a sibilant.

Most speakers will say the /ɻ/ in rich, ridge, and perhaps fridge with a little bit of extra lip-rounding, which phonetically is written [ɻʷ]. But we generally ignore tiny phonetic details like these when trying to explain a word to someone, since it doesn’t change which word people hear said if the lips don’t get rounded for rich and ridge.

Joke: Rich has a non-silent /t/, Roger a non-silent /d/

You should jokingly tell your friends that words like rich and lich don't have a silent /t/ in them — only because in both cases their /t/ sounds are fully audible and not silent at all. :)

This is the same as with the name Roger, whose own /d/ sound is also completely non-silent because it's also fully audible! So Roger has an audible — not a silent! — /d/ in it.

Finally, you can tell them that if they make the /d/ in legion silent that they’ll be left with a painful lesion instead.

There, that should really get them going. 😇

  • Thank you, and I like the joke too. But please can you give me a direct answer? Yes or no faint D sound? I've listened to several dictionary audio files and they all say it like I do with a bit of the D sound included? But my friends don't seem to hear that in the same audios. Yet, when they speak, I sense that shadow of a D. Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 3:47
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    @MohanSivanand Yes, the /d͡ʒ/ phoneme does start with a "d" sound, then moves quickly to the sibilant sound heard in the middle of measure, leisure, lesion. The only difference between legion and lesion is that "d" sound in the first of those which is absent in the second of them. The people saying it is not there are focusing on only the sibilant part, but it is easy to get them to hear the difference between minimal pairs like legion–lesion where the first has the "d" sound and the second lacks it. Spelling, as you see, has no influence on its presence or absence.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 3:59
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    @MohanSivanand This is exactly the same as when you take a word like rich, ditch, switch, which, where you can hear the /t/ sound in all of them at the start of their /t͡ʃ/ phoneme no matter how they're spelled. If you remove the /t/ sound, you're left with just the swishy sibilant you hear in words like dish, wish, swish, fish.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 4:10
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    “legion” without a /d/ sound is “lesion”.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 18:27
  • 1
    Cutiously, Rodgers is a common surname form, although Rogers also exists, but Rodger as a first name is quite rare.
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 8:13

Here is the thing. If you spelled "fridge" as "fridzh", you would pronounce it the same, and the d clearly would not be silent. "Frizh" isn't a word, but it definitely sounds different than "fridzh".

But English doesn't really treat that "dzh" sound as two consecutive consonants. It is just the sound of a so-called "soft g", or, equivalently, the typical sound of a j. Think about "allege", which rhymes with "edge". The "d" sound you hear is there in both words, but there is only a separate "d" in "edge". Personally, I don't think of the "d" as silent in the same sense that the "p" in "psychology" is silent. Instead, I think of its sound as being merged with the beginning of the soft g sound.

Fundamentally, I am saying the same thing as the other answers, but I think some people may be scared off by the IPA, valuable though it is.


The other day, I was discussing the pronunciation of fridge with friends on a social media group. They insisted that the d in fridge is completely silent. Is that so? I have always said it with a slight d sound. Which is correct?


You are both correct. Your friends are correct in not hearing an additional “d” sound because both “dge” and “ge” represent the same consonant /d3/ here, so putting a “d” in front of “ge” is redundant here “phonetically” as a “d” sound beginning is already included in /d3/ represented by “ge”. You are also correct in “hearing” the “d” sound because the “d” sound forms the beginning of the consonant /d3/ (that’s why the creators of the IPA symbols chose the symbol /d3/ to represent this consonant) which is represented by “dge” here in this word.

  • So you don't hear a "d" sound because the "d" sound is there in the /d͡ʒ/ sound? I think your first two sentences need revision!
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 10:16

Is the D in words like Fridge and Bridge silent?

Yes - Frij and Brij would sound the same.

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