[ krip-tog-ruh-fee ]
/ krɪpˈtɒg rə fi /
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See synonyms for: cryptography / cryptographer on Thesaurus.com

the science or study of the techniques of secret writing, especially code and cipher systems, methods, and the like.Compare cryptanalysis (def. 2).
the procedures, processes, methods, etc., of making and using secret writing, as codes or ciphers.
  1. the study or process of using algorithms to scramble or hide data, validate messages and digital signatures, etc., in order to secure digital information against unauthorized access or corruption: Cryptography has been rapidly evolving to introduce more hacker-proof algorithms.
  2. an instance of this: The application’s cryptography provides a strong element of security, but is unlikely to be proof against all cyber threats.
anything written in a secret code, cipher, or the like.


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Origin of cryptography

First recorded in 1635–45; crypto- + -graphy

OTHER WORDS FROM cryptography

cryp·tog·ra·pher, cryp·tog·ra·phist, nouncryp·to·graph·ic [krip-tuh-graf-ik], /ˌkrɪp təˈgræf ɪk/, cryp·to·graph·i·cal, cryp·tog·ra·phal, adjectivecryp·to·graph·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cryptography in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cryptography


cryptology (krɪpˈtɒlədʒɪ)

/ (krɪpˈtɒɡrəfɪ) /

the science or study of analysing and deciphering codes, ciphers, etc; cryptanalysis

Derived forms of cryptography

cryptographer, cryptographist or cryptologist, nouncryptographic (ˌkrɪptəˈɡræfɪk) or cryptographical, adjectivecryptographically, adverb
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

Cultural definitions for cryptography


The science of coding and decoding messages so as to keep these messages secure. Coding (see encryption) takes place using a key that ideally is known only by the sender and intended recipient of the message.

notes for cryptography

Historically used in warfare, cryptography is now used routinely in computer networks. This often pits the desire of individuals and businesses to keep Internet information private against the need of government to investigate crime and terrorism.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.