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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to Berkeleyside, the measure will cost the city up to $600 to change its code. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "California city votes to ban gendered words as 'manhole' becomes 'maintenance hole'," 18 July 2019 Across the Bay: Berkeley bans natural gas lines in new residential development and drops gendered language from its municipal code. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Another eviction in San Francisco — from a $15 million mansion," 18 July 2019 Like others who have tested the bug, Hutchins hasn't released his code for fear of enabling malicious use. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "Why Microsoft’s BlueKeep Bug Hasn’t Wreaked Havoc—Yet," 17 July 2019 Humans can make a decision in that split second that is reflective of their personal code of ethics. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "Could a Morality Setting Be the Future of Autonomous Vehicles?," 17 July 2019 When their code was broken, Mildred was sentenced to prison but Hitler personally ordered her execution. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "‘Star Trek’s’ Kate Mulgrew to emcee this year’s Opus & Olives fundraiser," 14 July 2019 Well, the algorithm was so successful that the researchers have decided not to release its code. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Facebook AI Pluribus defeats top poker professionals in 6-player Texas Hold ’em," 11 July 2019 The center has revised its code of ethics and is providing regular training to all of its staff in recognizing misconduct, the statement said. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Shambhala Mountain Center apologizes for not properly addressing abuse, sexual misconduct," 10 July 2019 In partnership with Professor Alison Curnow of the University of Exeter Medical School, the scientists are using their code to develop a simulated 'virtual laboratory' for studying skin cancer treatment. Fox News, "Techniques developed by astronomers to understand space could help fight against breast cancer," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The women code switch as needed, until a smart young woman of color named Nikita (Duncan) arrives to freshen up before her job interview. Christine Dolen, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: ‘She Shorts’ puts women in the spotlight," 15 July 2019 The place now runs on sun and wood and is to code and properly permitted. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How To Live Off the Grid," 10 June 2019 Planners also see the market as a community space with activities for neighborhood kids. Job site superintendent Paul Dimock said the brick warehouse was built in the 1920s and is not up to code with today’s standards. Slade Rand, courant.com, "Hartford’s Parkville Market is still coming, but construction challenges have delayed the opening for at least another six months," 14 June 2019 In these cases, the same genetic sequence might code for both an ingredient and an instruction for what to do with it. Quanta Magazine, "Machine Intelligence Cracks Genetic Controls," 18 Dec. 2014 Beyond the pros, Apple also brings in student developers on scholarships, teaching them how to code and other skills, in the hopes that the students will become app makers of tomorrow. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Apple WWDC 2019: What's coming this fall to iOS 13, Watch OS and iPad," 3 June 2019 Most genetic research to date has focused on just 1 percent of the genome — the areas that code for proteins. Quanta Magazine, "Machine Intelligence Cracks Genetic Controls," 18 Dec. 2014 Thanks to specimens supplied by the Harvard Herbarium, the interdisciplinary team was able to code the fragrance genes of the extinct flowers, fill in genome gaps with surviving plant DNA, and inject the code into yeast to fabricate scent microbes. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "You Can Now Smell a Flower That Went Extinct a Century Ago," 16 Apr. 2019 Taylor Swift superfans cracked this Da Swifty code way back in February, when the singer embedded some Illuminati-level clues into Instagram posts. Marie Claire, "Taylor Swift Superfans Called Her Big April 26 Announcement Months Ago," 13 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about code

Dictionary Entries near code

codding

Coddington lens

coddle

code

codebook

codec

code clerk

Statistics for code

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for code

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on code

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

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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