decipher

verb de·ci·pher \ dē-ˈsī-fər \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of decipher

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

decipherable

play \-f(ə-)rə-bəl\ adjective

decipherer

play \-fər-ər\ noun

decipherment

play \-fər-mənt\ noun

Examples of decipher in a Sentence

  1. I couldn't decipher his sloppy handwriting.

  2. we deciphered the hidden message to find out when we were supposed to meet

Recent Examples of decipher from the Web

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

decipher Synonyms

Synonyms
break, crack, decode, decrypt
Antonyms
cipher, code, encipher, encode, encrypt
Related Words
descramble, unscramble; render, translate; dope (out), figure out, puzzle (out), solve, unravel, unriddle, work, work out
Near Antonyms
garble, jumble (up), mix (up)

DECIPHER Defined for English Language Learners

decipher

verb

Definition of decipher for English Language Learners

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


DECIPHER Defined for Kids

decipher

verb de·ci·pher \ dē-ˈsī-fər \

Definition of decipher for Students

deciphered; deciphering
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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