Definition: An algorithm to code English words phonetically by reducing them to 16 consonant sounds. A better variant is double metaphone.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)
phonetic coding algorithm.

See also Jaro-Winkler, Caverphone, NYSIIS, soundex, Levenshtein distance.

Author: PEB


Many metaphone and double metaphone (Basic, C, Perl, and C++) implementations. applet for name lookup (Java), Apache codec implementations of soundex, Metaphone, and Double Metaphone (Java).

More information

Andrew Binstock and John Rex. Metaphone: A Modern Soundex. Practical Algorithms For Programmers. Addison-Wesley, 1995 pages 160-169.

Gary Parker. A Better Phonetic Search. C Gazette, Vol. 5, No. 4 (June/July), 1990.

Lawrence Philips. Hanging on the Metaphone. Computer Language, Vol. 7, No. 12 (December), 1990.

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 30 July 2007.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "metaphone", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 30 July 2007. (accessed TODAY) Available from: