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[dee-kohd] /diˈkoʊd/
verb (used with object), decoded, decoding.
to translate (data or a message) from a code into the original language or form.
to extract meaning from (spoken or written symbols).
Television. to unscramble (an electronic signal) so as to provide a video picture for cable subscribers.
verb (used without object), decoded, decoding.
to work at decoding.
Origin of decode
First recorded in 1895-1900; de- + code Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for decode
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We have received messages, but as yet I have only been partially able to decode them!

  • Therefore I sat down at the little desk and at once commenced to decode it.

    The Minister of Evil William Le Queux
  • One night he received a telegram in cipher, which he gave me to decode.

    The Minister of Evil William Le Queux
  • What they were recording was so unfamiliar that his brain could not decode the messages they sent.

    Viewpoint Gordon Randall Garrett
  • It's there, my word for it, if we could only decode the thing.

    The Sleuth of St. James's Square Melville Davisson Post
  • Also, he was hungry, and he did not hurry over his dinner in order to decode it.

    Walking Shadows Alfred Noyes
British Dictionary definitions for decode


to convert (a message, text, etc) from code into ordinary language
(computing) to convert (coded characters) from one form to another, as from binary-coded decimals to decimal numbers Compare encode (sense 2)
(electronics) to convert (a coded electrical signal) into normal analogue components
to analyse and understand the construction of words and phrases, esp in a foreign language
Derived Forms
decoder, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decode

1896, from de- + code. Related: Decoded; decoding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for decode



Explain: Hans, will you please decode that? (1950s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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