- 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 cypher
He plays Commander Alastair Denniston, head of the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) at Bletchley Park during World War II.Charles Dance on Tywin Lannister’s S5 Return, A ‘Game of Thrones’ Movie,’ and Sexy Peter Dinklage
November 18, 2014
He had created a kind of cypher, without any obvious hierarchy of order.‘A Fiery Tribune’
September 1, 2013
The paper shook in Juve's hands as his eyes devoured the message: it was in cypher.A Nest of Spies
I have no cypher from Mr Morris and have seen none from him.
It will be better, however, to make a copy in cypher, and to burn the original.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
I did not know there was such a thing as a cypher that could not be solved.'
It took him some time to concoct his telegram, and put it into cypher.
- a variant spelling of cipher
- 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 cypher
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.