1

cipher

play
noun, often attributive ci·pher \ˈsī-fər\

Definition of cipher

  1. 1a :  zero 1ab :  one that has no weight, worth, or influence :  nonentity She was nothing more than a cipher.

  2. 2a :  a method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning secret communications written in cipher — compare code 3bb :  a message in code The cipher cannot be decoded without the key.

  3. 3 :  arabic numeral

  4. 4 :  a combination of symbolic letters; especially :  the interwoven initials of a name coins that bore the cipher of the sultan

Examples of cipher in a sentence

  1. a cipher that can't be decoded

  2. She was nothing more than a cipher.

Origin and Etymology of cipher

Middle English, from Medieval Latin cifra, from Arabic ṣifr empty, cipher, zero


First Known Use: 14th century


2

cipher

verb ci·pher

Definition of cipher

ciphered

;

ciphering

play \-f(ə-)riŋ\
  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to use figures in a mathematical process all children should learn to read, write, and cipher — M. Pattison

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  encipher ciphered the letters that passed between the two heads of state

  5. 2 :  to compute arithmetically ciphered out the sum in his head

Examples of cipher in a sentence

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

Origin and Etymology of cipher

see 1cipher


First Known Use: circa 1530


CIPHER Defined for English Language Learners

1

cipher

play
noun, often attributive ci·pher \ˈsī-fər\

Definition of cipher for English Language Learners

  • : a way of changing a message to keep it secret

  • : a person who has no power or is not important


CIPHER Defined for Kids

1

cipher

play
noun ci·pher \ˈsī-fər\

Definition of cipher for Students

  1. 1 :  zero 1

  2. 2 :  a method of secret writing or the alphabet or letters and symbols used in such writing

  3. 3 :  a message in code


2

cipher

play
verb ci·pher

Definition of cipher for Students

ciphered

;

ciphering

  1. :  to use figures in doing a problem in arithmetic :  calculate



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