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

The researchers designed a machine-learning algorithm that could decode vibrations for specific keystrokes. Hamza Shaban, Washington Post, "Listen for the log-in: Hackers may glean your password by listening to how you type on your phone," 6 June 2019 But there has been little value in attempting to decode his actions. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is There a Right Way to Cover the Trump White House?," 6 June 2019 Now, the Internet is going crazy, trying to decode the song lyrics and every easter egg in the music video. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Taylor Swift's "ME!" Lyrics Reference Everything From Her Feud with Kanye West to Her BF Joe Alwyn," 26 Apr. 2019 Somehow, the season 6 finale has left us with more confusing twists and turns to decode than ever before. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'The Blacklist' Fans Are Freaking Out Over the Shocking Finale Twist," 20 May 2019 Neuroscientists reported in a study published in Nature Biotechnology that experimental software trained on recordings from seven patients with brain implants can decode variations in mood. WSJ, "Corrections & Amplifications," 14 Sep. 2018 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

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

12 Jun 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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