cryp·​tog·​ra·​phy | \ krip-ˈtä-grə-fē How to pronounce cryptography (audio) \

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

Did you know?

For a word having to do with secrets, cryptography has a surprisingly transparent origin. The word comes from Greek kryptós, meaning "hidden" or "secret," and graphein, meaning "to write." Besides the familiar related words of the same origin, such as cryptic, there is krypton, the name of a colorless gaseous element used especially in some fluorescent lamps and photography flashes. The name was chosen because the gas is rare and hard to find.

Examples of cryptography in a Sentence

Companies often use cryptography to protect private information.
Recent Examples on the Web One of our Road to Frontiers virtual streams will be about cryptography and privacy, featuring Lesley Carhart, director of incident response for North America at Dragos. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, 3 May 2022 Next, the researchers want to test this method for long-distance quantum cryptography. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 29 Apr. 2022 Cryptographers have shown that secure cryptography requires one-way functions. Quanta Magazine, 18 Apr. 2022 Apple argues that none of those new features for dealing with CSAM endanger user privacy—that even the iCloud detection mechanism will use clever cryptography to prevent Apple's scanning mechanism from accessing any visible images that aren't CSAM. Andy Greenberg, Wired, 5 Aug. 2021 The first will be on cryptography and privacy and how to deal with the first while being mindful of the second. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, 14 Apr. 2022 A decade or two ago, the word was generally used as shorthand for cryptography. New York Times, 5 Jan. 2022 For starters, Google wants to use it as a replacement for ARM's TrustZone (running things like DRM) and cryptography work. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 15 Feb. 2022 Crypto legend—as in, cryptography, the original tech usage of the term—and Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike has laid into the NFT/web3 craze, suggesting it’s rife with pyramid schemes. David Meyer, Fortune, 10 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of cryptography

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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).

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The first known use of cryptography was in 1646

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cryptography.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cryptography

Nglish: Translation of cryptography for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cryptography


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