Vigenère cipher

noun Vi·ge·nère cipher \¦vēzhə¦ne(ə)r-\

Definition of Vigenère cipher

  1. :  polyalphabetic substitution with alphabets derived from one pair of primary alphabets by sliding (as in the Vigenère tableau) for which the usual keying formula is P+K=C where P is the position of the plaintext letter in the plain component, C that of the ciphertext letter in the cipher sequence, and K that of the key letter in the normal alphabet and where positions are numbered from 0 to 25 and 26 is subtracted from sums above 25 — compare beaufort cipher, progressive-alphabet cipher

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of vigenère cipher

after Blaise de Vigénère †1596 French diplomat and student of cryptography

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up Vigenère cipher? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

Get Word of the Day daily email!