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Algorithm and web UI for solving anaphones (phonetic anagrams). [play with it]

What is an anaphone?

A rearrangement of the sounds (phonemes) of a word/phrase to make a new word/phrase.


  • lucky gas : galaxy
  • philosophy : awful fussy
  • antidisestablishmentarianism : banished alliance retested animism : dimensionality embarrasses tightness


An existing anagram solver can be adapted to solve phonemes by building a custom dictionary. There are 39 phonemes in the CMU pronouncing dictionary. I give each a single ASCII character (see encode_word()). I build a new dictionary in build_dictionary() by cross-referencing a scrabble dictionary with the CMU pronouncing dictionary. The anaphone format of the new dictionary files look like this:

D0LO;EV  cartel's
D0LO;L1  cartera
D0LO<  karter
D0LO<  carter
D0LO<;OM  carteret's
D0LO<AO  carteret
D0LO<V  carters
D0LO<V  carter's
D0LO<VSAE  cartersville
D0LOA9  carted
D0LOAH  carting
D0LOB  carty
D0LOB  cartee
D0LOB<  cartier
D0LOBW1G  cartesian
  • TWL06.txt: scrabble dictionary of commonly used words

Change the dictionary you want to use in load_dictionary() and get_candidate_words()::

  • common_combo_dictionary.txt: intersection of scrabble and cmu dictionaries in anaphone format.
  • combo_dictionary.txt: cmu dictionary in anaphone format.
  • simple_combo_dictionary.txt: simple dictionary in anaphone format used for debugging

Python anagram solver was adapted from this code. See more here for visual explanation of depth-first search.

This repo

Contains backup of Google AppEngine source code for Anaphonr, originally created at HackNY 2012.


  • Write the algorithm in C to be way faster
  • White-listing UI can be improved with fast narrowing down -- essential for writing efficiently
  • Credit the man who inspired me to work on this project, I have forgotten his name.


Algorithm and UI for solving anaphones (phonetic anagrams)




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