code word


Definition of code word

Examples of code word in a Sentence

The code word “conflict” has been used for what some people are calling a war.

Recent Examples on the Web

The commission’s discussion was couched in what some would regard as code words and never directly addressed race or income. Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, ProPublica, "Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing," 22 May 2019 Strzok was part of the Mid-Year Exam team at the FBI—the bureau’s code word for the Clinton investigation. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Gohmert doubles down after FBI dismisses claim of Clinton server hack," 30 Aug. 2018 Type in the code word from the June/July issue and enter here to win! Seventeen Magazine, Seventeen, "Win a $1000 Smooth N' Shine Gift Card!," 31 July 2011 Also see how Hayes corrals, among others, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maxine Waters, Emily Dickinson, Prince and Eurydice as shields, as code words, to repel would-be assassins. Walton Muyumba,, "The right poetry collection for right now: Terrance Hayes' 'American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin'," 14 June 2018 From the start, Trump sought to make Clinton's stamina and endurance -- both code words for her overall health -- an issue in the campaign. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Here's 4 reasons why Donald Trump faking a doctor's note actually matters," 2 May 2018 Match scans for suspicious code words, and immediately takes down profiles reported for violations. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "New Law Targets Sex Trafficking. It Could Also Hit Online Dating," 30 May 2018 What code words: colors, animals, cities, states—every team is different. Andy Benoit,, "The Secrets of a Linebacker," 16 May 2018 The president has instead opted for gradualism, which is a code word for soft-pedaling the sad facts. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "The Argentine Peso’s Death Spiral," 13 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of code word

1884, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about code word

Statistics for code word

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for code word

The first known use of code word was in 1884

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for code word

code word


English Language Learners Definition of code word

: a word or phrase that has a secret meaning or that is used instead of another word or phrase to avoid speaking directly

Comments on code word

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


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!