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See more synonyms for decode on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), de·cod·ed, de·cod·ing.
  1. to translate (data or a message) from a code into the original language or form.
  2. to extract meaning from (spoken or written symbols).
  3. Television. to unscramble (an electronic signal) so as to provide a video picture for cable subscribers.
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verb (used without object), de·cod·ed, de·cod·ing.
  1. to work at decoding.
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Origin of decode

First recorded in 1895–1900; de- + code
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

untangle, solve, unravel, translate, interpret, unscramble, break, read, decrypt, crack, unriddle

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British Dictionary definitions for decode


  1. to convert (a message, text, etc) from code into ordinary language
  2. computing to convert (coded characters) from one form to another, as from binary-coded decimals to decimal numbersCompare encode (def. 2)
  3. electronics to convert (a coded electrical signal) into normal analogue components
  4. to analyse and understand the construction of words and phrases, esp in a foreign language
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Derived Formsdecoder, noun
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

Word Origin and History for decode


1896, from de- + code. Related: Decoded; decoding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper