decipher

[dih-sahy-fer]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make out the meaning of (poor or partially obliterated writing, etc.): to decipher a hastily scribbled note.
  2. to discover the meaning of (anything obscure or difficult to trace or understand): to decipher hieroglyphics.
  3. to interpret by the use of a key, as something written in cipher: to decipher a secret message.
  4. Obsolete. to depict; portray.

Origin of decipher

1520–30; translation of Middle French déchiffrer. See de-, cipher
Related formsde·ci·pher·a·ble, adjectivede·ci·pher·a·bil·i·ty, nounde·ci·pher·er, nounde·ci·pher·ment, nounun·de·ci·pher·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·ci·pher·a·bly, adverbun·de·ci·phered, adjective

Synonyms for decipher

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for undecipherable

Historical Examples of undecipherable


British Dictionary definitions for undecipherable

decipher

verb (tr)
  1. to determine the meaning of (something obscure or illegible)
  2. to convert from code into plain text; decode
Derived Formsdecipherable, adjectivedecipherability, noundecipherer, noundecipherment, 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 undecipherable
adj.

1758, from un- (1) "not" + decipherable (see decipher).

decipher

v.

1520s, from de- + cipher. Perhaps in part a loan-translation from Middle French déchiffrer. Related: Deciphered; deciphering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper