a pair of words, as pin and bin, or bet and bed, differing only by one sound in the same position in each word, especially when such a pair is taken as evidence for the existence of a phonemic contrast between the two sounds.
Origin of minimal pair
First recorded in 1940–45
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British Dictionary definitions for minimal pair
linguistics a pair of speech elements in a given language differing in only one respect and thus serving to identify minimum units such as phonemes, morphemes, etc. For example, tin and din constitute a minimal pair in English
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