cryptography

noun cryp·tog·ra·phy \ krip-ˈtä-grə-fē \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of cryptography

1 : secret writing
2 : the enciphering and deciphering of messages in secret code or cipher; also : the computerized encoding and decoding of information

cryptography was our Word of the Day on 05/25/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of cryptography in a Sentence

  1. Companies often use cryptography to protect private information.

Recent Examples of cryptography from the Web

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

Did You Know?

For a word having to do with secrets, "cryptography" has a surprisingly transparent etymology. The word traces back to the Greek roots kryptos, meaning "hidden," and graphein, meaning "to write." "Kryptos" - which in turn traces to the Greek verb kryptein, meaning "to hide" - is a root shared by several English words, including "crypt," "cryptic," and "encrypt." "Krypton," the name of a colorless gaseous element used especially in some fluorescent lamps and photography flashes, also comes from "kryptos." The name was chosen because the gas is rare and hard to find.

Origin and Etymology of cryptography

borrowed from New Latin cryptographia, from crypto- crypto- + -graphia -graphy
Note: New Latin cryptographia was perhaps first used by the Limburg-born philologist Erycius Puteanus (Eric de Put, Eric van den Putte, 1574-1646) in "Cryptographia epistolica, sive de clandestina scriptione," an addendum to his Epistolarum reliquiae centuria V (Leuven/Louvain, 1612). An apparently more widely circulated work using the word was Cryptomenytices et cryptographiae libri IX (Lüneburg, 1624) by Gustavus Selenus, pseudonym of Augustus the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1579-1666).


CRYPTOGRAPHY Defined for English Language Learners

cryptography

Definition of cryptography for English Language Learners

  • : the process of writing or reading secret messages or codes



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