cryp·​ta·​rithm | \ ˈkrip-tə-ˌri-t͟həm How to pronounce cryptarithm (audio) \

Definition of cryptarithm

: an arithmetic problem in which letters have been substituted for numbers and which is solved by finding all possible pairings of digits with letters that produce a numerically correct answer

Examples of cryptarithm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Here is a cryptarithm (digit substitution) puzzle that may help (incidentally, all these words are acceptable in Scrabble). Quanta Magazine, 20 Apr. 2021

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

First Known Use of cryptarithm

1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cryptarithm

crypt- + -arithm (as in logarithm), after French cryptarithmie, alluding to either such problems collectively or to the branch of mathematics dealing with them

Note: The word cryptarithm was apparently introduced by the Minsk-born Belgian mathematician Maurice Kraitchik (1882-1957) in Mathematical Recreations (New York, 1942), pp. 79-80. Kraitchik states that he has translated French cryptarithmie as "cryptarithmetic," but then refers to an arithmetical operation in which letters have been substituted for numbers as a "cryptarithm." The word cryptarithmie was allegedly introduced by the Belgian mathematician Simon Vatriquant (1892-1966), under the pseudonym "Minos," in the May, 1931, issue of Sphinx: Revue mensuelle des questions récréatives.

Learn More About cryptarithm

Time Traveler for cryptarithm

Time Traveler

The first known use of cryptarithm was in 1943

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near cryptarithm




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cryptarithm

Cite this Entry

“Cryptarithm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on cryptarithm Encyclopedia article about cryptarithm


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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