verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
Origin of cipher
Examples from the Web for cipher
He is a cipher who has reduced his own party to near-cipher status.
The Scientists profusely apologized when I left the table at which they had their Cipher.
But what of all those people watching at home, waiting for Ann to explain the cipher that is Mittens?
But Allen Barra says he remains a cipher for his actions off the field.
Near his body is a cipher with the digits of the Fibonacci sequence and amalgams referring to Leonardo da Vinci and his Mona Lisa.
Any time you had a cipher, you were vulnerable to someone smarter than you coming up with a way of breaking it.Little Brother|Cory Doctorow
Jessie went up to her and showed her Miss Needwood's cipher.Sowing and Sewing|Charlotte Mary Yonge
He read a diary written chiefly in symbols, and many letters in cipher.Historical Essays|James Ford Rhodes
In arithmetic they had detected the value of position in the digits, though they missed the grand Indian invention of the cipher.History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science|John William Draper
Your cipher has not been sent hitherto, because it required a most confidential channel of conveyance.
Word Origin for cipher
late 14c., "arithmetical symbol for zero," from Old French cifre "nought, zero," Medieval Latin cifra, with Spanish and Italian cifra, ultimately from Arabic sifr "zero," literally "empty, nothing," from safara "to be empty;" loan-translation of Sanskrit sunya-s "empty." The word came to Europe with Arabic numerals. Originally in English "zero," then "any numeral" (early 15c.), then (first in French and Italian) "secret way of writing; coded message" (a sense first attested in English 1520s), because early codes often substituted numbers for letters. Klein says Modern French chiffre is from Italian cifra.
"to do arithmetic" (with Arabic numerals), 1520s, from cipher (n.). Meaning "to write in code" is from 1560s. Related: Ciphered; ciphering.