en·​code | \ in-ˈkōd How to pronounce encode (audio) , en- \
encoded; encoding; encodes

Definition of encode

transitive verb

1a : to convert (something, such as a body of information) from one system of communication into another especially : to convert (a message) into code
b : to convey symbolically the capacity of poetry to encode ideology— J. D. Niles
2 : to specify the genetic code for

Other Words from encode

encoder noun

Examples of encode in a Sentence

Credit cards are encoded with cardholder information. a technology that encodes images
Recent Examples on the Web But instead of soldiers jumping out, the adenovirus releases genes that encode the coronavirus' spike protein. Jen Christensen, CNN, 20 Mar. 2022 It is based on the idea that any form of biology anywhere in the universe will encode life’s information in complex assemblages of molecules that are measurably distinct from lifeless matter. Natalie Elliot, Scientific American, 23 Nov. 2021 Other languages force speakers to encode information that English doesn’t. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Mar. 2022 Not to get too nerdy, but studies on learning show that parceling out learning into bite-sized chunks allows the information to encode into long-term memory. Sabrina Shafer, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2022 Vaccines also encode a memory of the virus in B cells, which can churn out fresh batches of antibodies within four or five days after a new exposure to the virus. Arkansas Online, 22 Feb. 2022 Encryption has a math formula to encode the message, but the message can be intercepted and transposed. Sonal Rattan, Forbes, 4 June 2021 After analyzing a tissue sample from a cancerous tumor, the companies run genetic analyses to develop custom mRNA vaccines, which encode protein-containing mutations unique to the patient's tumor. Amy Webb, Wired, 1 Dec. 2021 IBM Research has been experimenting with analog computation for decades, and has recently developed a chip using phase-change memory (PCM) to encode the weights of a neural net on a memory device. Karl Freund, Forbes, 2 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'encode.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of encode

circa 1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for encode

Time Traveler

The first known use of encode was circa 1919

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Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Encode.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encode. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for encode


transitive verb
en·​code | \ in-ˈkōd, en- How to pronounce encode (audio) \
encoded; encoding

Medical Definition of encode

: to specify the genetic code for each nucleotide triplet or codon on the mRNA chain encodes a specific amino acid— J. E. Darnell, Jr.


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