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. 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.

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Entry modified 24 January 2022.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "metaphone", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed. 24 January 2022. (accessed TODAY) Available from: