- any of the Arabic numerals or figures.
- Arabic numerical notation collectively.
- something of no value or importance.
- a person of no influence; nonentity.
- a secret method of writing, as by transposition or substitution of letters, specially formed symbols, or the like.Compare cryptography.
- writing done by such a method; a coded message.
- the key to a secret method of writing.
- a combination of letters, as the initials of a name, in one design; monogram.
- to use figures or numerals arithmetically.
- to write in or as in cipher.
- to calculate numerically; figure.
- to convert into cipher.
Origin of cipher
Examples from the Web for ciphering
"Better stick to your ciphering, my young friend," he said to him, one day.The Guardian Angel
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Then he takes a fresh sheet of paper and resumes his ciphering and reckoning.A Family of Noblemen
He was taught reading, writing, ciphering, and the translation of the Bible.History of the Jews, Vol. VI (of 6)
School hours were to be spent principally in writing, ciphering, and reciting.Ella Clinton
There was no ciphering her out by the rules that worked with other children.Anne Of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery
- a method of secret writing using substitution or transposition of letters according to a key
- a secret message
- the key to a secret message
- an obsolete name for zero (def. 1)
- any of the Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, etc, to 9) or the Arabic system of numbering as a whole
- a person or thing of no importance; nonentity
- a design consisting of interwoven letters; monogram
- music a defect in an organ resulting in the continuous sounding of a pipe, the key of which has not been depressed
- to put (a message) into secret writing
- (intr) (of an organ pipe) to sound without having the appropriate key depressed
- rare to perform (a calculation) arithmetically
Word Origin and History for ciphering
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.