Why don’t we pronounce the letter b in the word subtle? The word derives ultimately from Latin subtilis, meaning “fine, delicate,” and was adopted into Middle English from Old French as sotil. The b was later added back in so that the spelling reflected the word’s original Latin roots but the pronunciation continued to lack the b sound. This is part of a complete episode.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support the love of language and good conversation. Donate to keep episodes coming in 2020.