cipher

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

14th century. From Old French cyfre, cyffre (French chiffre), ultimately from Arabic صِفْر (ṣifr, zero, empty), from صَفَرَ (ṣafara, to be empty). Compare zero. Sense 9 may be a different word.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cipher (plural ciphers)

  1. A numeric character.
  2. Any text character.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      This wisdom began to be written in ciphers and characters and letters bearing the forms of creatures.
  3. A combination or interweaving of letters, as the initials of a name; a device; a monogram.
    a painter's cipher, an engraver's cipher, etc.
  4. A method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning.
    The message was written in a simple cipher. Anyone could figure it out.
    • Bishop Burnet
      His father [] engaged him when he was very young to write all his letters to England in cipher.
  5. (cryptography) A cryptographic system using an algorithm that converts letters or sequences of bits into ciphertext.
  6. Ciphertext; a message concealed via a cipher.
    The message is clearly a cipher, but I can't figure it out.
  7. 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.
  8. (music) A fault in an organ valve which causes a pipe to sound continuously without the key having been pressed.
  9. A hip-hop jam session.[2]
  10. The path (usually circular) shared cannabis takes through a group, an occasion of cannabis smoking.
  11. Someone or something of no importance.
    • Washington Irving
      Here he was a mere cipher.
  12. (dated) Zero.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (numeric character): number, numeral
  • (method for concealing the meaning of text): code
  • (cryptographic system using an algorithm):
  • (ciphertext):
  • (a grouping of three digits in a number, especially when delimited):
  • (design of interlacing initials): monogram
  • (fault in an organ valve causing a pipe to sound continuously):
  • (hip-hop jam session):
  • (path that shared cannabis takes through a group):
  • (someone or something of no importance): (person): nobody, nonentity; (thing) nonentity, nothing, nullity
  • (obsolete: zero): naught/nought, nothing, oh, zero

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

cipher (third-person singular simple present ciphers, present participle ciphering, simple past and past participle ciphered)

  1. (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.
    • pub. 1890,Emily Dickinson
      So I must baffle at the hint/ And cipher at the sign,/ And make much blunder, if at last/I take the clew divine.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cipher. (n.d.). In the New Oxford American Dictionary.
  2. ^ http://www.rapdict.org/Cipher Rap Dictionary. Retrieved 30 November 2005.

Anagrams[edit]