noun, often attributive \ˈsī-fər\

: a way of changing a message to keep it secret

: a person who has no power or is not important

Full Definition of CIPHER

a :  zero 1a
b :  one that has no weight, worth, or influence :  nonentity
a :  a method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning — compare code 3b
b :  a message in code
:  a combination of symbolic letters; especially :  the interwoven initials of a name

Examples of CIPHER

  1. a cipher that can't be decoded
  2. She was nothing more than a cipher.

Origin of CIPHER

Middle English, from Medieval Latin cifra, from Arabic ṣifr empty, cipher, zero
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with CIPHER


ci·pheredci·pher·ing \-f(ə-)riŋ\

Definition of CIPHER

intransitive verb
:  to use figures in a mathematical process
transitive verb
:  encipher
:  to compute arithmetically

Examples of CIPHER

  1. <were surprised by how much we had spent on the cruise after we had ciphered out the grand total>

First Known Use of CIPHER

circa 1530


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