(PHP 4, PHP 5)

metaphoneCalculate the metaphone key of a string


string metaphone ( string $str [, int $phonemes = 0 ] )

Calculates the metaphone key of str.

Similar to soundex() metaphone creates the same key for similar sounding words. It's more accurate than soundex() as it knows the basic rules of English pronunciation. The metaphone generated keys are of variable length.

Metaphone was developed by Lawrence Philips <lphilips at verity dot com>. It is described in ["Practical Algorithms for Programmers", Binstock & Rex, Addison Wesley, 1995].



The input string.


This parameter restricts the returned metaphone key to phonemes characters in length. The default value of 0 means no restriction.

Valorile întoarse

Returns the metaphone key as a string, sau FALSE în cazul eșecului.


Example #1 metaphone() basic example


Exemplul de mai sus va afișa ceva similar cu:

string(7) "PRKRMNK"
string(6) "PRKRMR"

Example #2 Using the phonemes parameter


Exemplul de mai sus va afișa ceva similar cu:

string(5) "PRKRM"
string(5) "PRKRM"

add a note add a note

User Contributed Notes 4 notes

mail at spam-off dot iaindooley dot com
10 years ago
you can use the metaphone function quite effectively with phrases by taking the levenshtein distances between two metaphone codes, and then taking this as a percentage of the length of the original metaphone code. thus you can define a percentage error, (say 20%) and accept only matches that are closer than that. i've found this works quite effectively in a function i am using on my website where an album name that the user entered is verified against existing album names that may be similar. this is also an excellent way of people being able to vaguely remember a phrase and get several suggestions out of the database. so you could type "i stiched nine times" with an error percentage of, say, 50 and still get 'a stitch in time saves nine' back as a match.
php at casadebender dot com
6 years ago
A double metaphone pecl module is available:
Vipindas K.S
5 years ago
The metaphone() function can be used for spelling applications.This function returns the metaphone key of the string on success, or FALSE on failure.Its main use is when you are searching a genealogy database. check to see if a metaphone search is offered. It is also useful in making/searching family tree.
Given below is a simple code that calculates and compares two strings to find whether its metaphone codes are equivalent.

html code
<form action="test.php" name="test" method="get">
Name1:<input type="text" name="name1" /><br />
Name2:<input type="text" name="name2" /><br />
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="compare" />

<!--php code begins here -->

$str1 = $_GET['name1'];
$str2 = $_GET['name2'];
"metaphone code for ".$str1." is ". $meta_one;
"<br />";
"metaphone code for ".$str2." is ". $meta_two."<br>";
"metaphone codes are matching";
"metaphone codes are not matching";


Metaphone  algorithm was developed by Lawrence Philips.

Lawrence Philips' RULES follow:

 The 16 consonant sounds:
                                             |--- ZERO represents "th"
      B  X  S  K  J  T  F  H  L  M  N  P  R  0  W  Y


   Beginning of word: "ae-", "gn", "kn-", "pn-", "wr-"  ----> drop first letter
                      "Aebersold", "Gnagy", "Knuth", "Pniewski", "Wright"

   Beginning of word: "x"                                ----> change to "s"
                                      as in "Deng Xiaopeng"

   Beginning of word: "wh-"                              ----> change to "w"
                                      as in "Whalen"


   B ----> B      unless at the end of word after "m", as in "dumb", "McComb"

   C ----> X      (sh) if "-cia-" or "-ch-"
           S      if "-ci-", "-ce-", or "-cy-"
                  SILENT if "-sci-", "-sce-", or "-scy-"
           K      otherwise, including in "-sch-"

   D ----> J      if in "-dge-", "-dgy-", or "-dgi-"
           T      otherwise

   F ----> F

   G ---->        SILENT if in "-gh-" and not at end or before a vowel
                            in "-gn" or "-gned"
                            in "-dge-" etc., as in above rule
           J      if before "i", or "e", or "y" if not double "gg"
           K      otherwise

   H ---->        SILENT if after vowel and no vowel follows
                         or after "-ch-", "-sh-", "-ph-", "-th-", "-gh-"
           H      otherwise

   J ----> J

   K ---->        SILENT if after "c"
           K      otherwise

   L ----> L

   M ----> M

   N ----> N

   P ----> F      if before "h"
           P      otherwise

   Q ----> K

   R ----> R

   S ----> X      (sh) if before "h" or in "-sio-" or "-sia-"
           S      otherwise

   T ----> X      (sh) if "-tia-" or "-tio-"
           0      (th) if before "h"
                  silent if in "-tch-"
           T      otherwise

   V ----> F

   W ---->        SILENT if not followed by a vowel
           W      if followed by a vowel

   X ----> KS

   Y ---->        SILENT if not followed by a vowel
           Y      if followed by a vowel

   Z ----> S
Ray.Paseur often uses Gmail
10 months ago
Metaphone() apparently ignores non-English characters.  Comparing Plaçe TO Place yields "PL" and "PLS."  A similar result comes from soundex().
To Top