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

Koleda explained her department is currently undergoing a major update of the city’s zoning code and will soon put the document before members of the planning commission for review. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "La Cañada City Council issues temporary ban on electronic message signs," 28 Aug. 2019 Will students instructed in ethics get better at both recognizing technological bias and deploying the tools of code to fix it? Gregory Barber, WIRED, "What Sci-Fi Can Teach Computer Science About Ethics," 26 Aug. 2019 From July 2018 through June 2019, Wisconsin farmers filed 45 bankruptcies under Chapter 12, a section of the U.S. bankruptcy code that provides financially troubled family farmers with a streamlined path to repay all or part of their debts. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Farm Bureau report: Wisconsin again leads nation in family farm bankruptcies," 23 Aug. 2019 The issuance of the new code of conduct was accepted by the TA and other supporters groups around the league as a necessary step and most of the general parameters were acceptable and agreed upon. oregonlive.com, "Portland Timbers front office explains stance on Iron Front symbol, political signage and human rights," 19 Aug. 2019 That pulling a weapon at a fistfight is a shameful act of cowardice and betrayal of a timeless code. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, "Virtues learned in the South," 18 Aug. 2019 Part of this gene contains repeated segments for three of the letters of the DNA code—cytosine, adenine and guanine, which are known as CAG repeats. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, "Antisense Drugs for Huntington’s, ALS and Prion Diseases Could Meet the Dire Need for Brain Treatments," 15 Aug. 2019 Tesla cars will just need new lines of computer code beamed into the car to go full robot when the software is ready, the company says. Russ Mitchellstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Tesla has a huge incentive to deploy self-driving tech. But is the world ready?," 9 Aug. 2019 But the school then commenced disciplinary proceedings on the grounds that Haughwout had violated several provisions of the student code of conduct. Dave Altimari, courant.com, "Attorney: Supreme Court ruling upholding expulsion of CCSU student who built gun-firing drone could impact Alex Jones case," 29 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Estimates for bringing the 1925 building up to code ranged from $140,000 for ADA work to $500,000 to $600,000 for a full remodeling, building owner Louis Wang told the Mercury News in February. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "After 94 years, Wing’s restaurant sign taken down in San Jose," 28 Aug. 2019 The state code enshrining Forrest Day says the governor must also proclaim Robert E. Lee Day on Jan. 19 and Confederate Decoration Day on June 3, among other dates. Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, "Ted Cruz criticizes Tenn. governor for day honoring Confederate general and KKK leader," 13 July 2019 African American songs from this time period were often written in what amounted to code so as not to alarm whites, Meacham writes. Allison Stewart, chicagotribune.com, "Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw: How American music became both a reflection and an instrument of social change," 11 July 2019 African American songs from this time period were often written in what amounted to code so as not to alarm whites, Meacham writes. Allison Stewart, Washington Post, "How American music became both a reflection and an instrument of social change," 10 July 2019 The organization, which was founded in 2012, will have trained 185,000 girls to code by the end of this year. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "P&G CIO Says He Wants to Hire More Women Coders," 10 July 2019 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

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

1 Sep 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

recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!