It isn't easy thinking about adjectives that start with "B." After "ma," "ba" seems to be the next syllable babies learn. Babies look like they're having a ball saying "ba ba ba ba" all day long. They know it belongs somewhere, but they can't figure out where. "Dada" and "mama" are so immediately meaningful that "baba" doesn't get the credit it deserves.
Indeed, the second letter of the English alphabet often finds itself playing second fiddle or backup vocals or something. When you're in high school, you don't want to be on the "B team" when the "A team" is so much cooler. When your good plan goes pear-shaped, the only thing you have left is the inferior, proverbial "plan B."
Then there's "beta." In the good old days, "beta" used to describe the level of program only a few people got to see before the software went live. It would build buzz about the product, and you'd hear people say things like, "the new application is still in beta, but I can't wait for it to go live." The idea was that while a program was in beta, there wouldn't be any support or apologies for anything still wrong with the thing. Beta-testing would reveal bugs and issues that should be remedied before letting the unwashed masses sink their teeth in it. After beta-testing, it would be safe for public consumption. These days, the meaning of "beta" has begun to grow more hazy.
The meaning of "beta" might not be immediately important to you, but most of you will be familiar with Gmail. Gmail has undergone multiple major upgrades, it offers support, has commercialized to turn a profit, and it's become one of the major services Google offers. Why then, in the Gmail logo, is there a gray, all-caps line that reads "BETA"? What does "BETA" mean in this case? If "BETA" can describe a perfect product, can "beta" change, too? If "beta" changes, does that mean that "plan b" can describe the perfect plan? Will high school athletes be vying to make the "B team" cut? Will English school kids study hard for their "B levels" while American ones pray in their classrooms for "B's" on their math quizzes? In language, anything is possible.
Some consonants are inconstant. They are fickle beasts who like to fool unwitting spellers at every turn. Not "B"; "B" is a bastion of reliability in the minefield of English spelling. When you say "B," your voice doesn't stop, but your airflow is held back for just one precious moment before exploding into the desired sound. "B's" evil twin, "P," is not as constant or resolute as "B." "P" can pair up with "H" or "S" to make wholly different, unexpected sounds. "B" is a perfect letter. No matter what letter it's next to, it makes the same sound. Sure, sometimes "B" is silent, like in "debt" or "doubt," but when "B" makes a sound, it always sounds identical to every other "B."
It's hard to beat all the great adjectives that start with "B." Make your own list of your favorites for fun with friends. Then challenge all your friends who weren't there to a game of Scrabble. You will totally destroy them.
Here are the top 20 B-adjectives:
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