minimal pair: two words (or phrases or other structures) which differ in meaning and which have only one difference in their sounds. A minimal pair is very strong evidence for the establishing of contrast. The sound difference in such a case corresponds to a phonemic difference. For instance, the words "bit" [bIt] and "beat" [bit] are a minimal pair showing that there is a phonemic distinction in English between /I/ and /i/. [Spanish: par mínimo]