- cypher (less common)
14th century. From Middle English cifre, from Old French cyfre, cyffre (French chiffre), ultimately from Arabic صِفْر (ṣifr, “zero, empty”), from صَفَرَ (ṣafara, “to be empty”). Doublet of zero. Sense 9 may be a different word.
- Hyphenation: ci‧pher
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsaɪfə/
Audio (UK) (file)
- (US, Canada) enPR: ˈsī-fər, IPA(key): /ˈsaɪfɚ/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -aɪfə(ɹ)
cipher (plural ciphers)
- A numeric character.
- Any text character.
- A combination or interweaving of letters, as the initials of a name.
- 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 1, page 290:
- Just then, an attendant to whom the Queen had whispered returned; and taking a small case from her hand, Anne produced a bracelet somewhat similar to the very one with which Francesca had parted, excepting that it had her cipher, surrounded by a wreath of fleurs-de-lis. "Louis, will you offer this to Mademoiselle Carrara?"
- a painter's cipher
- an engraver's cipher
- A method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning.
- Synonym: code
- The message was written in a simple cipher. Anyone could figure it out.
- (cryptography) A cryptographic system using an algorithm that converts letters or sequences of bits into ciphertext.
- a public-key cipher
- Ciphertext; a message concealed via a cipher.
- The message is clearly a cipher, but I can't figure it out.
- A grouping of three digits in a number, especially when delimited by commas or periods:
- The probability is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000 — a number having five ciphers of zeros.
- (music) A fault in an organ valve which causes a pipe to sound continuously without the key having been pressed.
- (music, slang) A hip-hop jam session.
- 2011, “The World Is Listening”, in The Journey Aflame, performed by Akua Naru:
- They say no girls in the cipher, so I rock solo
- (slang) The path (usually circular) shared cannabis takes through a group, an occasion of cannabis smoking.
- Synonym: rotation
- 1993, “Midnight”, performed by A Tribe Called Quest:
- As the night seemed darker, cops is on a hunt / They interrupt your cipher, and crush your blunt
- Someone or something of no importance.
- (dated) Zero.
- (intransitive, regional, dated) To calculate.
- I never learned much more than how to read and cipher.
- 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, ch. IX, Abbot Samson
- For the mischief that one blockhead, that every blockhead does, in a world so feracious, teeming with endless results as ours, no ciphering will sum up.
- 1979, Octavia Butler, Kindred:
- Can you cipher too—along with your reading and writing?
- (intransitive) To write in code or cipher.
- (intransitive, music) Of an organ pipe: to sound independent of the organ.
- (obsolete) To decipher.
- ^ Cipher. (n.d.). In the New Oxford American Dictionary.
- ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060213154654/http://rapdict.org/Cipher Rap Dictionary. Retrieved 30 November 2005.