1

cipher

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

Definition of cipher

1 a :zero 1a
b :one that has no weight, worth, or influence :nonentity
  • She was nothing more than a cipher.
2 a :a method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning
  • secret communications written in cipher
— compare code 3b
b :a message in code
  • The cipher cannot be decoded without the key.
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.

Recent Examples of cipher from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cipher.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of cipher

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


2

cipher

verb

Definition of cipher

ciphered; ciphering play \-f(ə-)riŋ\
intransitive verb
:to use figures in a mathematical process
  • all children should learn to read, write, and cipher
  • —M. Pattison
transitive verb
1 :encipher
  • ciphered the letters that passed between the two heads of state
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

Recent Examples of cipher from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cipher.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of cipher


CIPHER Defined for English Language Learners

cipher

noun

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

noun ci·pher \ ˈsī-fər \

Definition of cipher for Students

1 :zero 1
2 :a method of secret writing or the alphabet or letters and symbols used in such writing
3 :a message in code

2

cipher

verb

Definition of cipher for Students

ciphered; ciphering
:to use figures in doing a problem in arithmetic :calculate


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