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Oracle/PLSQL: SOUNDEX Function

Learn how to use the Oracle/PLSQL SOUNDEX function with syntax and examples.


The Oracle/PLSQL SOUNDEX function returns a phonetic representation (the way it sounds) of a string.


The syntax for the Oracle/PLSQL SOUNDEX function is:

SOUNDEX( string1 )

Parameters or Arguments

string1 is the string whose phonetic value will be returned.


The SOUNDEX function algorithm is as follows:

  1. The SOUNDEX function return value will always begin with the first letter of string1.
  2. The SOUNDEX function uses only the first 5 consonants to determine the NUMERIC portion of the return value, except if the first letter of string1 is a vowel.
  3. The SOUNDEX function is not case-sensitive. What this means is that both uppercase and lowercase characters will generate the same SOUNDEX function return value.
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Applies To

The SOUNDEX function can be used in the following versions of Oracle/PLSQL:

  • Oracle 12c, Oracle 11g, Oracle 10g, Oracle 9i, Oracle 8i


Let's look at some Oracle SOUNDEX function examples and explore how to use the SOUNDEX function in Oracle/PLSQL.

For example:

SOUNDEX('tech on the net'); would return 'T253'
SOUNDEX('TECH ON THE NET'); would return 'T253'
SOUNDEX('apples'); would return 'A142'
SOUNDEX('apples are great'); would return 'A142'
SOUNDEX('applus'); would return 'A142'