A short and sweet explanation of why certain words have silent letters in them

Why is there a "b" in doubt and a "p" in receipt? The answer might infuriate you.

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Rob Words produces language facts and etymology fun.

Ever wonder why we have silent letters randomly nestled into certain words? Think about the “b” in “doubt,” the “p” in “receipt,” the “s” in “isle” … or “aisle” or “island” for that matter. How the heck did those get there?! Sure, the English language is notoriously a hodgepodge of words from different cultures, but usually there’s a reason behind it all. Even if that reason is bonkers.

The good news: There is an answer to this linguistic riddle. The bad news: As etymology enthusiast Rob Words explains in a fascinating video, the answer might infuriate you.

A logical theory would be that once upon a time, these letters were actually pronounced. Rob previously shared how this was the case for the letter “k” when it falls at the beginning of a word … thus ruining Arthur and Ka-nights of the Round Table forever.

But no. The truth is, as Rob puts it, much more “irritating.” Certain letters were deliberately put in by Renaissance scholars, who became interested in learning the Greek and Latin roots of English words. Which would have been fine, had they kept their interests to themselves.

Instead, they forced them into the public consciousness by inserting certain letters from the original Greek/Latin word into the (then) modern language known as Middle English, which was primarily influenced by old French.

Take, for example, the word “debt,” which comes from the Latin word “debitum.” By the time it was in Middle English, however, it became “dette.” Which is still how we pronounce it today. That makes it a perfectly fine spelling, don’t you think? But nooooo, nerdy nostalgia took over, and here we are, with words that carry a not-so-subtle (or “soutil,” as it once was) nod to the ancient past.

This is all just further proof that the English language is a glorious mess—without a “doute.”

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In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

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10 things that made us smile this week

This week's finds include an adorable baby's first 'Dada,' an appreciative delivery driver, an angel rocking out to 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' and more.

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Ho ho ho, happy humans!

It's that time of the week again, when we gather together the most smile-worthy tidbits of the past seven days and share them with you all. As the lucky person who gets to wrap them up in a nice, shiny, virtual bow, I'm delighted to tell you that this week's list is awesome. They always are—that's kind of the point—but this week I can practically guarantee you're going to be brimming with joy by the end.

Right out of the gate, we've got baby giggles. I mean, come on. Who can resist baby giggles?

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Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

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