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

Other Words from decipher

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for decipher



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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 Now instead of asking the data entry team to decipher handwritten service notes, technicians are prompted to capture data in a structured way, including the ability to make the capture of certain data elements mandatory. Bill Fahey, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 In this case, though, the industry-leading tech wasn’t enough to decipher extortion—at least not at first. Kristen Hawley, Bon Appétit, 26 July 2022 Opposition leaders clamored to decipher Rajapaksa’s intentions. Emily Schmall,, 10 July 2022 While the platform uses technology that allows only its member banks to decipher its alerts, privacy protections are much tougher for individual bank customers than for legal entities such as companies. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 25 July 2022 But there is something far more important at stake than trying to accurately decipher the tenets of the past. Michael Bobelian, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Looking to decipher those cryptic lyrics for yourself? Seventeen, 18 July 2022 And one of the reasons why the president gets paid the big bucks is to decipher all that. CBS News, 8 June 2022 In both, the seekers try to decipher the clues in front of them. The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of decipher

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for decipher

Time Traveler

The first known use of decipher was in 1545

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Dictionary Entries Near decipher



deciphering alphabet

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Statistics for decipher

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decipher.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for decipher


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on decipher

Nglish: Translation of decipher for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decipher for Arabic Speakers


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