verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
Origin of cipher
Examples from the Web for ciphering
He often moved about the cabin with a piece of chalk, writing and ciphering on boards and the flat sides of hewn logs.Abraham Lincoln, Volume 1 (of 2)|William H. Herndon
But Tom was thinking and ciphering away so busy and excited he never heard him.Tom Sawyer Abroad|Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
But now this accomplished young man does it all by ciphering and mensuration.The Mayor of Casterbridge|Thomas Hardy
“He must be respectable—he keeps a man-servant,” said Miss Tomkins to the writing and ciphering governess.The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, v. 1(of 2)|Charles Dickens
He was a celebrity in ciphering, and Squire Seymour declared that he was the greatest "arithmeticker" in Fairfield county.Peter Parley's Own Story|Samuel G. Goodrich
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.