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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 decoding
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He stumbled on a broken street sign, decoding what was left of it, and considered.

    Victory Lester del Rey
  • When he was staying with us he was for ever telegraphing, cabling to America, or decoding messages.

    The Secret House Edgar Wallace
  • They are decoding signalled and written messages, script of every kind.

    Women and War Work

    Helen Fraser
  • decoding is dependent on knowledge of language characteristics—characteristics of known languages.

    As Long As You Wish John O'Keefe
  • The human genome project is now decoding the genetic mysteries of life.

  • The value of such a code was that it was so made up that a decoding book, or decoding wheel, was not needed.

    Dave Dawson at Casablanca Robert Sydney Bowen
British Dictionary definitions for decoding


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 decoding



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

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



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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