A New Phonetic Alphabet

For those who don't like
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, …

a mischievously misleading, ambiguous, phonetic alphabet using English homophones and given names

(In a hurry? Use the brief version instead)

Letters (A–Z)
A as in Alpha
pref: ate or aubergine
letter: aitch(H), are(R), aye(I)
homophone: air(err, heir and Eyre), ait/ate(eight,8-ball), awed(odd), aisle(I'll and isle), aught(ought), auld(old)
variants: aeon/eon, aerie/airy/eyrie, aesthetic/esthetic
silent initial letter: aeon or aesthete
analogue: chemical symbol for Silver (Ag) or Gold (Au)
name: Aaron(Erin), Aesop [source (Christina Pila)], Ava(Ewa)
[misc.]: any(N.E.), au courant, aubergine, aura, auto(Otto)
B as in Bravo
pref: bdellium
silent initial letter: bdellium
description: the insect that makes honey (apian)
analogue: 300 in medieval Roman numerals [source (Alan Connor in the Gaurdian)]
[misc.]: baryon number [source (Alan Connor in the Gaurdian)]
C as in Charlie
pref: cue or canine
letter: cay(K) or cue(Q)
homophone: catarrh(Qatar), cay(key/quay), cede(seed), ceiling(sealing), cell(sell), cellar(seller), censor(sensor), cent(sent/scent), cereal(serial), chaos(KAOS), Chi.(shy), chic(sheik), choir(quire), chute(shoot), cite(sight/site), city(sitee), cling on(Klingon), coal(kohl), coy(koi), crew(krewe), cue(Kew/queue), curd(Kurd), curt(Kurt), or cymbal(symbol)
variants: caffetan/cafetan/coftan/kaftan, catsup/ketchup, ceratin/keratin, curb/kerb, cashmere/Kashmir?, czar/tsar
silent initial letter: ctenophora, chthonic or cnidaria
double letter phoneme: Chablis, chabazite, chai, charisma, chasm, Chianti, chorus
analogue: (One) hundred in Roman numerals, ¢/d/penny [see note below]
name: Caleigh, Carol(Karol), Catherine(Katherine), C. D.[as in C. D. Howe](seedy), Chagas disease, Cher(share), Cheryl(Sheryl), Chris(Kris), Cisco® [computer networks company](Sysco® [food services corporation]), Cuba, Cy[as in the late Cy Young](Greek letter psi(ψ and Ψ)/sigh) or Cyd [as in the late Cyd Charisse](Sid)
[misc.]: canine, ceilidh, celery, chaeta, chimera, chi (χ and Χ, see also X and note that Chi. is an abbreviation for Chicago often pronounced identically to shy), cigar or cucumber
D as in Delta
pref: djin or double-U
letter: double-U
homophone: djin(gin)
analogue: Five hundred in Roman numerals, penny/pence [source(Alan Connor in the Gaurdian)][See also note about ¢ under C]
name: Django
E as in Echo
pref: ewe or eye
letter: eh(A), eks(X), el/ell(L), ewe(U), eye(I)
homophone: eye(aye), earn(urn), eight(ait/ate), em (unit), ewe(you/yew), err(air, heir, Eyre), eave/eve(Yves), ewer(your/you're), ex (unit) or eyelet(islet)
variants: eon/aeon, eyrie/aerie/airy, esthetic/aesthetic, either(with an initial long-E or long-I)
analogue: 250 in medieval Roman numerals [source (Alan Connor in the Gaurdian)], former spouse (ex-)
name: Eileen (when pronounced with an initial long-E), Ellen, Erin(Aaron), Euler (as in Leonhard Euler), Eugene, Eve(Yves), Ewa(Ava) [link to pronunciation note (at www.pronouncenames.com)], Eyre (literary character and novel by Charlotte Brontë)
[misc.]: eau-de-Cologne, effluent, eider, elbow, elegiac, elevator, embrace, emend, Emmy(M.E.)[as in Emmy Award], English, envy(N.V.), escalator, eucalyptus (and eukaryote and Eureka etc.), excel(X.L.), excess(X.S.), explain, extra-large(XL), exquisite, euthanasia(youth in Asia), (or earl?)
F as in Foxtrot
pref: faze
homophone: faro(pharaoh), faze(phase), felt(veld), few(phew), fie(phi), file(phial), fill(Phil), fish(Phish), flocks(phlox)
analogue: chemical symbol for Iron (Fe)
G as in Golf
pref: gneiss
homophone: gneiss(nice), gibe(jibe), genes(jeans), gest(jest), gym(jim) or gnu(new/nu/knew)[Nu as in the Greek letter, ν, not the interjection]
variants: gaol/jail, gel/jell[see note under J]
silent initial letter: gnarl, gnat, gnaw(nah), gnocchi or gnu(knew/new/nu)
analogue: (one) thousand [a grand is slang for a thousand dollars] (see also K & M)
name: Gennifer [as in Gennifer Flowers] (Jennifer), Geoffrey(Jeffrey), Geri(Jerry)[as in Geri Halliwell], German(Jermyn)[as in London's Jermyn St], Gerry(Jerry)[as in Gerry Adams], Gilles(Jill/gill) [link to sound file with pronunciation (from the Internet Archive's cache of about.com) & (see note about gill below)], Gzowski [as in the late CBC radio and TV show host Peter Gzowski]
[misc.]: gill, gym(Jim), gyro
H as in Hotel
pref: heir
homophone: heir(air/err/Eyre?), hoard/horde(whored), hole(whole) or hour(our & are)
silent first letter: honour, heir or hoard
analogue: aspiration(in phonetics), Eta (capital Greek letter η is the same grapheme as H in the Roman alphabet) or chemical symbol for Mercury (Hg)
name: Heloise, Hugo
I as in India
pref: isle
homophone: isle/I'll(aisle), islet(eyelet) or won (as an analogue for one)
description: The perpendicular pronoun from The Skeleton in the Cupboard (an episode of the TV programme Yes Minister by Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn) or me
analogue: One (in Roman numerals and on some old typewriters, also a homophone for won)
name: I Ching, Iago, Ida (when pronounced with an initial long-E)
[misc.]: ieie, iiwi, ilala or imprévu
J as in Juliet
pref: jai alai or juan
homophone: jaeger/jäger(Yeager), jeans(genes), jim(gym), jibe(gibe) or jest(gest)
variants: jail/gaol, jell/gel [see note below], joozh/tjuzs/zhoosh [see note below]
name: Jeffrey(Geoffrey), Jennifer(Gennifer), Jermyn(German)[as in London's Jermyn St], Jerry(Geri/Gerry), Jian[as in musician and former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi], Jill(Gilles/gill [see note about gill]), Jim(gym), Jimenez [link to pronunciation note (at www.pronouncenames.com)], Johannes [as in Johannes Brahms], Juan(wan)
[misc.]: jaeger/jäger, jai alai, jojoba, junta
K as in Kilo
pref: Kew or potassium
homophone: KAOS(chaos)[see Wikipedia's disambiguation page for many meanings of KAOS], kernel(colonel), key(cay/quay), knave(nave), knead(need), knew(gnu/new/nu), knight(night), knit(nit), knob(nob), knock(nock), knot(not, naught, or nought), know(no), knows(nose), kohl(coal), koi(coy) or krewe(crew)
variants: kaftan/caffetan/cafetan/coftan, keratin/ceratin, kerb/curb, Kashmir/cashmere?, ketchup/catsup, Koran/Quran
silent initial letter: knight, knife, knit, know or knot
analogue: chemical symbol for Potassium (K) or (one) thousand [SI prefix] (see also G & M)
name: Kew(cue/queue/Q)[as in Kew Gardens], Klingon(cling on), kneel(Neal/Neil/Niel), knoll(Nöel), Karol(Carol) [as in the late Karol Castillo], and Kris(Chris), Kurd(curd), Kurt(curt)
L as in Lima
pref: 50 or pound
analogue: Fifty in Roman numerals [source], pound (Lb. or £)
[misc.]: Llinás?
M as in Mike
pref: mnemonic
silent initial letter: mbaqanga or mnemonic
analogue: (One) thousand in Roman numerals (see also G & K)]
[misc.]: M.E.(Emmy)[as abbrev. for medical examiner e.g.]
N as in November
pref: nave or new
homophone: nave(knave), new/nu (gnu/knew), night(knight), nit(knit), no(know), nob(knob), nock(knock), nose(knows), or not/naught/nought (knot)
silent initial letter: ngultrum [source (Ben Teitelbaum's The Devil's Alphabet website)]
analogue: Chemical symbol for Sodium (Na)
name: Neil/Niel(kneel) [see Dilbert cartoon for ], Noël[as in Noël Coward](knoll)
[misc.]: N.E.(any), N.V./NV(envy) [NV is the USPS abbreviation for Nevada]
O as in Oscar
pref: ours or zero
letter: our & are(R)
homophone: one(won), odd(awed), ought(aught), or ours?(hours)
analogue: hug (abbreviation), zero
name: Oedipus, Ouija, Otto(auto)
[misc.]: oenophile? oesophagus [source (Malcolm Appleby) see also Wikipedia's list of Latin alphabet digraphs], onion?, ouguiya [source Wikipedia's list of Latin alphabet tetragraphs ()]
P as in Papa
pref: pneumonia or urine [if you must]
homophone: phase(faze), pharaoh(faro), phew(few), phial(file), phlox(flocks), Phish(fish)[the musical troupe] psalter(salter), Greek letter Ψ(Cy/sigh)
silent initial letter: pneumonia [source (the great Lily Tomlin, of course)], pneumatic, psalm, psalter, psyche or pterodactyl
double letter phoneme: phone or pharoah
analogue: chemical symbol for Lead (Pb), Rho (capital Greek letter ρ is the same grapheme as P in the Roman alphabet), urine(a puerile pun, sorry)
name: Phil(fill), Psmith (literary character from P. G. Wodehouse), Ptolemy
[misc.]: penny/¢/d [see note under C], p.h.a.t. (abbreviation for pretty hot and tempting)(fat), physics, physique
Q as in Quebec
pref: quay
letter: queue(Q)
homophone: quay(cay/key), queue(cue/Kew), quire(choir) or qat(cat)
variants: Koran/Quran
analogue: character played by John de Lancie on Star Trek: The Next Generation, etc. or character played by Desmond Llewelyn in many James Bond movies
name: Qaf(transliteration of Arabic letter ق  [source: The OCEL, p. 505]) , Qatar(catarrh), Quph(Kof)(transliteration of Hebrew letter ק  [source: The OCEL, p. 505])
R as in Romeo
pref: rye
letter: R(our & are)
homophone: rap(wrap), reck(wreck)?, rest(wrest), right/rite(wright/write), ring(wring), Ritz(writs), rot(wrought), rung(wrung), rye(wry)
analogue: (prescription) [source (Tristan Miller)], Thursday[abbreviation (incredible but true)]
name: Rennes(wren), Rex(wrecks)
[misc.]: like a pirate [stereotypical but funny (to my mind) none the less in much the same way that P can be as in urine] or 'rithmetic [one of the three Rs]
S as in Sierra
pref: see or serial
letter: sea/see(C) or seize(plural of C)
homophone: salter(psalter), scent/sent(cent,¢), sealing(ceiling), seed(cede), seedy(C. D.[as in C. D. Howe]), sell(cell), seller(cellar), sensor(censor), serial(cereal), sheik(chic), shy(Chi. [abbreviation for Chicago]), sight/site(cite), sitee(city), sigh(Cy/Greek letter psi(ψ and Ψ)), or symbol(cymbal)
analogue: chemical symbol for Tin (Sn) or Antinomy (Sb)
name: Sheryl[as in Sheryl Crow](Cheryl), Sid [as in the late Sid Caesar or the late Sid Vicious] (Cyd), Sysco® [food services corporation] (Cisco® [computer networks company])
T as in Tango
pref: tsunami or tsar
variants: tsar/czar, tjuzs/joozh/zhoosh [see note under J]
silent initial letter: tsunami or tsar
double letter phoneme: tsar
analogue: junction (see also fork as an analogue for Y) or tea (as in Green, Oolong, brewed beverage, 4 (o'clock) etc.) [source (Vicki Rosenzweig and collaborators)]
name: Taoism [see Derek Lin's pronunciation note at taoism.net]
U as in Uniform
pref: urn or Uighur
homophone: urn(earn), urine(you're in), use(youse)
[misc.]: UConn (abbreviation for University of Connecticut)(Yukon), Uighur, uke?
V as in Victor
pref: 5
homophone: veld(felt)
variants: vakoof/vakuf(wakf/waqf)
analogue: Five in Roman numerals [source]
W as in Whiskey
pref: why or Tungsten
letter: why(Y)
homophone: wan(Juan), whole(hole), whored(hoard/horde), won(one), wrap(rap), wrest(rest), wring(ring), wright/write(right/rite), writs(Ritz), wrought(rot), wrung(rung), or wry(rye)
variants: wakf/waqf(vakoof/vakuf)
silent initial letter: whole, whored, wrangle, wrap, wreak, wreck, wrest, wright, wring, write, writs, wrought, wrung or wry?
analogue: chemical symbol for Tungsten (W) (aka Wolfram)
name: Weber[as in Max Weber], wren(Rennes), Wyoming
X as in X-ray
pref: xenophobia
homophone: X.L.(excel), X.S.(excess)
analogue: XL (extra-large[abbreviation]), Ten in Roman numerals, kiss (abbreviation) also 50 proof, strike etc. [see The Free Dictionary's What does X stand for ? for many meanings of the abbreviation X], Greek letter Chi (see also C)
name: Xenon
[misc.]: xenophobia or xylophone
Y as in Yankee
pref: Ypsilanti or you
letter: you/yew(U)
homophone:yew/you(ewe), your/you're(ewer) or youse(use)
analogue: fork(as in fork in the road or divining-rod etc. See also junction as an analogue for T) or Upsilon (capital Greek letter υ is the same grapheme as Y in the Roman alphabet)
name: Yeager(jaeger/jäger: as in Chuck Yeager) Yukon(UConn: abbreviation for University of Connecticut), Yves(eave/Eve), Yvette or Yvonne
[misc.]: Ypsilanti, Yttrium or Ytterbium
Z as in Zulu
pref: zhoosh or 2000
variants: zhoosh/joozh/tjuzs [see note under J]
analogue: atomic number (in Chemistry), impedance (in Physics), 2000 in medieval Roman numerals (Chamber's Dictionary, 12th ed.)
name: Zhivago [source (Tristan Miller)]
[misc.]: zee?, zhoosh [source (Wikipedia ())], zhuyin zimu? (or zhuyin), Zoque, zwieback?, zwitterion?
Digits (0–9)
the operator
past of to win
half a ballet dress
as in three for a dollar?
III (Roman numeral sounds somewhat like the exclamation Aye Yai Yai)
what people yell on a golf course
IV (Roman numeral sounds like abbreviation for intervenous)
as in the number of pins in five-pin bowling???
V (Roman numeral)
Latinate sex???
A Greek hex???
as in lucky number …
as in Seven ate nine
not in German