decipher

verb
de·​ci·​pher | \ dē-ˈsī-fər How to pronounce decipher (audio) \
deciphered; deciphering; deciphers

Definition of decipher

transitive verb

1 : decode sense 1a decipher a secret message
2 obsolete : depict with her majesty's name deciphered in gold letters— Jonathan Swift
3a : to make out the meaning of despite indistinctness or obscurity trying to decipher her handwriting
b : to interpret the meaning of decipher the poem

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Other Words from decipher

decipherable \ dē-​ˈsī-​f(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce decipherable (audio) \ adjective
decipherer \ dē-​ˈsī-​fər-​ər How to pronounce decipherer (audio) \ noun
decipherment \ dē-​ˈsī-​fər-​mənt How to pronounce decipherment (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for decipher

Synonyms

break, crack, decode, decrypt

Antonyms

cipher, code, encipher, encode, encrypt

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Examples of decipher in a Sentence

I couldn't decipher his sloppy handwriting. we deciphered the hidden message to find out when we were supposed to meet

Recent Examples on the Web

That’s the startling premise of a recent study by researchers at Cambridge University and Sweden’s Linköping University who were able to glean passwords by deciphering the sound waves generated by fingers tapping on smartphone touch screens. Hamza Shaban, The Denver Post, "Hackers may glean your password by listening to how you type on your phone," 7 July 2019 Also, the new amounts will be more consistent throughout the San Diego system and easier for everyone to decipher. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fare hikes expected to accelerate decline in bus, train riders," 1 July 2019 The work isn’t erecting heavy beams but deciphering and writing about the numerous big cases the court typically issues just prior to fleeing for summer vacation. The Christian Science Monitor, "The week in photos (June 24-28)," 28 June 2019 In the meantime, deciphering their toll on human health has become an urgent priority. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "The Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke May Last a Lifetime," 27 June 2019 Facebook’s biases are the subject mostly of composite rumor, of millions of people deciphering their own individualized experience together. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "What Is Facebook?," 25 June 2019 Each car's license plate references a notable Kings Island attraction, some easier to decipher than others. Jordan Kellogg, Cincinnati.com, "Are you a true Kings Island fan? Try to decipher these license plate riddles," 20 June 2019 As labels proliferated, confusion ensued: so much so that in 1977, New York state published a booklet guiding shoppers on how to decipher the codes. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "The best way to tell when food goes bad isn’t by looking at its label," 12 June 2019 As such, scientists are eager to decipher the conditions that allow plate tectonics to arise. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Venus, Earth’s Evil Twin, Beckons Space Agencies," 12 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of decipher

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for decipher

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decipher

The first known use of decipher was in 1545

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More Definitions for decipher

decipher

verb

English Language Learners Definition of decipher

: to find the meaning of (something that is difficult to read or understand)

decipher

verb
de·​ci·​pher | \ dē-ˈsī-fər How to pronounce decipher (audio) \
deciphered; deciphering

Kids Definition of decipher

1 : to translate from secret or mysterious writing : decode
2 : to make out the meaning of something not clear I can't decipher her sloppy handwriting.

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More from Merriam-Webster on decipher

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decipher

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decipher

Spanish Central: Translation of decipher

Nglish: Translation of decipher for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decipher for Arabic Speakers

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