code

noun
\ ˈkōd How to pronounce code (audio) \
plural codes

Definition of code

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a systematic statement of a body of law especially : one given statutory force
2 : a system of principles or rules moral code
3a : a system of signals or symbols for communication
b : a system of symbols (such as letters or numbers) used to represent assigned and often secret meanings
c : coded language : a word or phrase chosen in place of another word or phrase in order to communicate an attitude or meaning without stating it explicitly The strategy also appealed to blue-collar workers in the Northeast and Northwest who were opposed to "forced bussing." This was expressed in code as favoring "law and order" and opposing "crime in the streets."— Elizabeth Drew usually used with for I hear the word "development" a lot in public speech; politicians and activists use it as code for a lot of things—jobs, health care, a change in leadership.— Sallie TisdaleThis quarter-century of Republican momentum was reversed finally by Bill Clinton, who called himself a "New Democrat," code for "not a liberal."— Joshua Muravchik
5 : instructions for a computer (as within a piece of software) writing code for a new app

code

verb
coded; coding

Definition of code (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to put in or into the form or symbols of a code

intransitive verb

1 : to specify the genetic code a gene that codes for a protein
2 : to create or edit computer code She got a job coding for Google.

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Other Words from code

Noun

codeless \ ˈkōd-​ləs How to pronounce codeless (audio) \ adjective

Verb

codable \ ˈkō-​də-​bəl How to pronounce codable (audio) \ adjective
coder noun

Synonyms for code

Synonyms: Noun

canon, constitution, decalogue, law

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Examples of code in a Sentence

Noun

Everyone in the organization has to follow its code of ethics. The army has a strict code of conduct. The enemy was unable to break the army's secret code. The message was sent in code. Every item in the store has a product code. Enter your security code to access the computer. Each employee is given a code number. He was hired to write programming code.

Verb

The general sent a coded message. Each product has been coded.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Royal protocol is a code of conduct for state occasions; it's etiquette, and frankly has nothing to do with what color pedicure Meghan, or any royal for that matter, wears to a charity theater event. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "No, Meghan Markle Didn't Break Royal Protocol With Her Dark Nail Polish," 17 Jan. 2019 Programmers, of course, have for decades been writing code that automates their work, but most don’t take it to the extreme of fully or nearly fully automating their job. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Did Chinese spies infiltrate Apple and Amazon with tiny chips?," 4 Oct. 2018 The activists rallying under the moniker Occupy ICE PDX — PDX is Portland’s airport code — want to abolish ICE and end the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. Washington Post, "9 detained, officers reopen immigration office in Oregon," 28 June 2018 There should be a code among authors to never publicly pooh-pooh another writer’s work. New York Times, "Ottessa Moshfegh: By the Book," 28 June 2018 Then the announcement was made declaring that customers can now use multiple promo codes when shopping online. Marci Robin, Allure, "Sephora Credit Cards (and Rewards) Are Coming — Here’s Everything We Know," 16 Mar. 2019 But that doesn't mean last-minute travelers can't save some cash: Search for discount codes directly on car rental websites or go to sites like Groupon.com for more deals. Shelby Deering, Good Housekeeping, "6 Rental Car Tips That'll Save You Time and Money on Your Next Family Trip," 1 Mar. 2019 Designed to pass the most common building code requirements in the U.S., Avrame USA works with each client to determine local requirements and makes adjustments as needed. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Affordable A-frame house can be built by just two people," 11 Jan. 2019 To get the deal, enter the promo code CYBER18 on the site. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Black Friday Travel Deals of 2018," 23 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And only a savvy programmer or a really dedicated DIY enthusiast will likely use a Vector to set up complex IFTTT operations or code a neat function of their own. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Anki Vector review: modern-day Tamagotchi," 5 Nov. 2018 Sometimes the girls code computer graphics that complement the dance and are projected onto the stage; other times, the students wear costumes with programmable lights that flash or change color depending on the wearer's movements. Shay Maunz, Glamour, "STEM From Dance Is Using Dance to Turn Teen Girls Into Coders," 7 Dec. 2018 Of course, every good doctor can code-switch to some degree, and today the old dichotomies break down. Laura Kolbe, WSJ, "‘Under the Knife’ Review: The Kindest Cuts," 14 Nov. 2018 Here, Aphrodice Mutangana, the 33-year-old general manager of the K-Lab, spends his weekends teaching 9- to 15-year-olds to code. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Rwanda: A Poster Child for Development With a Dark Side," 6 Nov. 2018 That way, a developer can run Linux apps and tools within a terminal window, with the goal of helping app makers code Android software on a Chromebook, as noted by 9to5Google. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Google releases Chrome OS 69 with new Material Theme design and Linux support," 18 Sep. 2018 Any reimagining of the first three games would have to be done with the same care the creators used to code the original. Harold Goldberg, chicagotribune.com, "Classic games, lovingly reimagined in 'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy'," 13 July 2018 Help bring unpermitted live-work spaces up to code In the wake of the deadly Ghost Ship fire that killed that 36 people at a warehouse in Oakland, cities across the country have cracked down on unpermitted live-work spaces. Ethan Varian, Los Angeles Magazine, "How Can L.A. Keep Artists in the Arts District?," 20 Feb. 2018 The researchers also uncovered discrepancies in the way states code and report overdose deaths. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Researchers May Have Underestimated the Number of Opioid Overdose Deaths," 27 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of code

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1815, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for code

Noun

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin caudex, codex trunk of a tree, document formed originally from wooden tablets

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Learn More about code

Dictionary Entries near code

codding

Coddington lens

coddle

code

codebook

codec

code clerk

Statistics for code

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for code

The first known use of code was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for code

code

noun

English Language Learners Definition of code

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a set of laws or regulations
: a set of ideas or rules about how to behave
: a set of letters, numbers, symbols, etc., that is used to secretly send messages to someone

code

verb

English Language Learners Definition of code (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put (a message) into the form of a code so that it can be kept secret
: to mark (something) with a code so that it can be identified
: to change (information) into a set of letters, numbers, or symbols that can be read by a computer

code

noun
\ ˈkōd How to pronounce code (audio) \

Kids Definition of code

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a system of rules or principles a code of conduct
2 : a system of signals or letters and symbols with special meanings used for sending messages
3 : a collection of laws criminal code
5 : a set of instructions for a computer

code

verb
coded; coding

Kids Definition of code (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put in the form of a code

code

noun
\ ˈkōd How to pronounce code (audio) \

Medical Definition of code

 (Entry 1 of 2)

code

verb
coded; coding

Medical Definition of code (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to specify the genetic code for an amino acid coded by a nucleotide sequence

intransitive verb

1 : to specify the genetic code the DNA sequence of the gene that codes for that protein— Gina B. Kolata
2 : to experience cardiac arrest or respiratory failure They were taking her up to the operating room and she coded in the hallway. The resuscitation effort was heroic.— Perri Klass, Discover, November 1986

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code

noun

Legal Definition of code

1 : a systematic compilation or revision of law or legal principles that is arranged especially by subject: as
a : one that contains the law of a specific jurisdiction or topic promulgated by legislative authority U.S. Code Code of Massachusetts Regulations building code — compare case law, digest, statute
b : one that serves as a model for legislation but is not itself a law Model Penal Code
2 : a set of rules or regulations that is promulgated by a body (as a professional organization) and that regulates its industrial or professional practices ABA Code of Professional Responsibility

History and Etymology for code

Old French, from Medieval Latin codex, from Latin caudex codex tree trunk, set of wood writing tablets, book

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More from Merriam-Webster on code

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with code

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for code

Spanish Central: Translation of code

Nglish: Translation of code for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of code for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about code

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