decode

verb
de·​code | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈkōd How to pronounce decode (audio) \
decoded; decoding; decodes

Definition of decode

transitive verb

1a : to convert (something, such as a coded message) into intelligible form
b : to recognize and interpret (an electronic signal)
b : to discover the underlying meaning of decode the play's imagery

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Synonyms & Antonyms for decode

Synonyms

break, crack, decipher, decrypt

Antonyms

cipher, code, encipher, encode, encrypt

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Did You Know?

To decode is to take out of code and put into understandable language. (Its opposite is encode, "to put into coded form".) But dreams may sometimes also be decoded; psychologists often try to decode the images of their patients' dreams so as to understand the emotions behind them. And readers must often decode what a novel or story or poem is telling them, which may require two or three readings. Decipher is often a synonym, though we now use it when talking about reading difficult handwriting.

Examples of decode in a Sentence

Readers can easily decode the novel's imagery. I'm trying to decode the expression on her face. The box decodes the digital signal for your CD player.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Here, Tran decodes her look, from the easygoing essentials that get her work-ready to her favorite flea markets across the globe. Vogue, "An L.A. Jewelry Designer Decodes Her Easygoing Executive Style," 9 Apr. 2019 Caldwell adds that for paleontologists, Megachirella is akin to the Rosetta Stone, in the way that the fossil is helping them decode the reptile family tree. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "World's Oldest Lizard Fossil Found—What You Need to Know," 31 May 2018 To better target stimulation, experts are working to decode how the brain normally works and what goes wrong in disease, which includes figuring out what regions are involved in a particular patient’s symptoms. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "Brain Data Could Read Moods, Potentially Treat Depression," 10 Sep. 2018 This year's egg hunt, hosted by Playworks dragon, encourages kids to decode an Easter puzzle by collecting colorful eggs throughout the museum. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "We Found the Best Easter Egg Hunts Near New York City," 11 Mar. 2019 Another responsibility of routers is to decode domain-name addresses (such as popularmechanics.com) to 32-bit IP addresses (198.80.88.36). Popular Mechanics, "The Death of the Internet," 7 Feb. 2019 The next step in smelling is to decode those chemical messages. Helen Czerski, WSJ, "Wintry Scents, Indoors and Out," 20 Dec. 2018 As human drivers slowly go extinct (and human pedestrians don’t), autonomous vehicles will have to get better at decoding those unspoken intersection interactions. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why Did the Human Cross the Road? To Confuse the Self-Driving Car," 10 July 2018 While Oldis is working on perfecting the movement and speech of our dreams, professor Yukiyasu Kamitani at Kyoto University in Japan is working on decoding the images. Charlotte Hawks, CNN, "How close are we to video-recording our dreams?," 4 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decode.' 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 decode

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for decode

Last Updated

15 May 2019

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Time Traveler for decode

The first known use of decode was in 1896

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More Definitions for decode

decode

verb

English Language Learners Definition of decode

: to change (secret messages, documents, etc.) from a set of letters, numbers, symbols, etc., you cannot understand into words you can understand
: to find or understand the true or hidden meaning of (something)
technical : to change signals for a radio, television, etc., to a form that can be heard or seen correctly

decode

verb
de·​code | \ dē-ˈkōd How to pronounce decode (audio) \
decoded; decoding

Kids Definition of decode

: to change a message in code into ordinary language

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More from Merriam-Webster on decode

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decode

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decode

Spanish Central: Translation of decode

Nglish: Translation of decode for Spanish Speakers

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