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

For viewers, deciphering when a video crosses the line into marketing is not always easy. Mark Bergen, The Seattle Times, "Kidfluencers’ rampant YouTube marketing creates minefield for Google," 24 Mar. 2019 Frida Ghitis, a former CNN correspondent, deciphered from the stones a blessing from Deuteronomy. Bernard-henri Lévy, WSJ, "ISIS Overlooks a Synagogue in Mosul," 18 Oct. 2018 Over the years, intrepid fans have used the ebbs and flows of Harington’s real-life hairstyle as a way to decipher upcoming GoT plot details. Dan Barna, Glamour, "Kit Harington Just Confirmed a Theory About Jon Snow's Hair Fans Have Had for Years," 21 Sep. 2018 Over the years, intrepid fans have used the ebbs and flows of Harington’s real-life hairstyle as a way to decipher upcoming Game of Thrones plot details. Dan Barna, Allure, "Kit Harington Explains the Significance of Jon Snow’s Hair to the Plot of Game of Thrones," 21 Sep. 2018 But like Star’s relationship with Kat Von D, something soured behind the scenes, with Star and the rest leaving their followers a trail of social media breadcrumbs to decipher what happened. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Laura Lee, Jeffree Star, and the racism scandal upending the YouTube beauty community, explained," 28 Aug. 2018 Players like u/ulus10 are hoping that the textures on the cube are symbols of some sort that players can decipher: Likely, the event will continue to unfold throughout the weekend as the end of the season ramps up. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Fortnite’s lightning rift has created a purple interdimensional cube," 24 Aug. 2018 Have fun deciphering Wright’s fingerprints versus those of his mentor, Louis Sullivan, in the design details of another trail site, the Charnley-Persky House, which the architects worked on together in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Lori Rackl, chicagotribune.com, "New Frank Lloyd Wright trail unveiled: 13 sites from Rockford to Springfield," 7 May 2018 The collection serves as a kind of Rosetta Stone to deciphering his influences and motivations. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Ismail Kadare: The Conscience of His People," 15 June 2018

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

23 Apr 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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