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



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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 His past will, undoubtedly, play a part in deciphering the crime behind a car accident in season 3, and the characters involved in what will ultimately be a reality that no one saw coming. Sara Steinfeld,, "Detective Ambrose’s Past May Come Back To Haunt Him In The Sinner Season 3," 5 Feb. 2020 The key to deciphering the CMB’s messy ripples is that recombination granted a select series of blobs an enduring cosmic significance. Quanta Magazine, "How Ancient Light Reveals the Universe’s Contents," 28 Jan. 2020 As a result, reporters have to rely more on instinct than hard data in deciphering the caucuses. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Joe Biden’s Confounding Candidacy," 25 Jan. 2020 Season 1, Week 6: The Raven Celebrity Behind the Mask: Ricki Lake Judge Robin Thicke guessed right after deciphering clues that indicated the Raven was a talk-show host. Diane J. Cho,, "The Masked Singer: Who's Been Revealed So Far?," 5 Dec. 2019 Running counter to prevailing archaeological opinion, Russian American Mayanist scholar Tatiana Proskouriakoff used her study of the area in the 1930s to begin the seemingly impossible task of deciphering ancient Maya writing. Los Angeles Times, "Column: A looted Maya sculpture sparks a storm over its planned sale at auction," 11 Sep. 2019 But others, like the Obama video, are almost impossible to detect as fake without the use of deciphering technology. David Singer, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Hollywood Can (and Can’t) Fight Back Against Deepfake Videos (Guest Column)," 7 Sep. 2019 By deciphering hex codes, testing various response signals, and writing custom dumping scripts, CaH4e3 was able to dump a 64KB mapper table and reduce it to a mere 32 bytes that can make sense of QTa ROM files. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Collector unearths long-lost 8-bit Konami games, dumps them for emulation," 29 Aug. 2019 Seeing just one black hole shred a neutron star could reveal how stiff neutron-star matter is, Kalogera says, which is key to deciphering the structure of neutron stars. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Scientists may have spotted a black hole and a neutron star colliding," 16 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for decipher

Time Traveler

The first known use of decipher was in 1545

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Statistics for decipher

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decipher.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for decipher


How to pronounce decipher (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of decipher

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


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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