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under- +‎ code


undercode (plural undercodes)

  1. (semiotics) A subtext; ideas or information that are assumed or implied but not explicitly coded.
    • 1986, Keyan G. Tomaselli, Myth, Race and Power: South Africans Imaged on Film and TV, page 17:
      The anthropologist will tend to react more in terms of denotative overcoding, while the mass audience may respond more to connotative undercodes in terms of the ideological perspectives.
    • 1995, W. F. H. Nicolaisen, Oral Tradition in the Middle Ages, page 125:
      Kier Elam, in distinguishing these undercodes from generally understood dramatic codes, describes them as the "potent dramatic and theatrical conventions ruling the structure and understanding of plays and performances ..."
    • 2002, Dissertation Abstracts International: The humanities and social sciences:
      This study also seeks to discover the motivation behind the desire of potential warriors to emulate the persona of traditional, idealized heroic icons. It argues that both a 'male undercode' and a 'religious undercode' exist at the root of military culture, shunning all 'feminising' influences, and stimulating a strong drive to achieve a type of 'supermasculine' identity.
  2. A secret message included in another message or stream of data.
    • 2009, Jay Lake, To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves:
      Cannon was up there in orbit, talking to her ship in a dead language that existed mostly in undercode running on ancient infrastructure and its more modern copies.
    • 2010, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., The Elysium Commission, →ISBN, page 69:
      I couldn't afford not to answer a valid Civitas inquiry or communication, but after all the inquiries and research, an unknown undercode suggested yet another branch of Civitas or an attacker using a Civitas cover.
    • 2016, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Alliance of Equals, →ISBN:
      He shook his head within the visualizer, the major pipes still turgid with old data and images. Some of the old modular code had enough match points that it might be mistaken for undercode for the Admiral.
  3. (research methods) A code (which represents a datum) that is grouped with other codes into a final encoding.
    • 1968, Pierce T. Piggott, Lindsay N. Johnston, & Foras Forbartha, Technical documentation for the building industry:
      Here you can see that on the undercodes the relevant items of labour and material have been combined together and conversion factors can be inserted to convert the unit of measurement to the different units required for billing.
    • 1970, The Architects' Journal - Volume 152, page 746:
      Just as the construction details 'held' on a standard drawing can be tested and become more certain of success as time passes, the undercodes held by an overcode can be confirmed in accuracy.
    • 1984, K. Matti Saari, Uveitis update: proceedings of the First International Symposium on Uveitis held in Hanasaari, Espoo, Finland, →ISBN:
      A rational combination of these three undercodes allows to describe most disorders.


undercode (third-person singular simple present undercodes, present participle undercoding, simple past and past participle undercoded)

  1. (semiotics, intransitive) To communicate using codes that do not convey the entire message, but which rely on the recipient's construction of meaning through connotation or subtexts.
    • 1984, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      The immature committee — possibly a zero-history group — may express itself simply and emotionally, and thereby undercodes.
    • 1996, Kyong Liong Kim -, Caged in Our Own Signs: A Book about Semiotics, →ISBN, page 70:
      Unlike the case of overcoding, undercoding occurs when the receiver somehow attempts to interpret an unfamiliar or unknown message without knowing the necessary codes.
    • 2002, Ken Gelder, Reading the Vampire, →ISBN, page 65:
      The productive nature of this novel may lie in the uneasy cohabitation of these various discursive fields and in the variability of their coding – it may undercode at times and overcode at others.
    • 2013, Jason Toynbee, Bob Marley: Herald of a Postcolonial World?, →ISBN:
      Since musicians do not have native competence in producing the style from which they have appropriated, they have to 'undercode' to some extent. (Eco. 1976: 135—6).
  2. (semiotics, transitive) To use or convey (a message) in a way that requires the recipient to construct part of the meaning.
    • 1992, Peter K. Manning, Organizational Communication, →ISBN, page 63:
      To officers and dispatchers it also connotes "good police work" and "crime work" that is honorable and important. Each message is undercoded in respect of police ideology (Eco 1979:135ff., Manning 1986).
    • 2002, Margaret Clelland Bender, Signs of Cherokee Culture: Sequoyah's Syllabary in Eastern Cherokee Life, →ISBN:
      In another sense it provides a deficit: some key knowledge necessary to read a word correctly is missing. One might alternatively say that the syllabary simultaneously undercodes and overcodes the spoken language, making it particularly ripe as a location for local language ideology.
    • 2006, Franco Ricci, Difficult Games: A Reading of I Racconti by Italo Calvino, →ISBN, page 110:
      By withholding information, thereby abnegating the textual strategies of the storyteller by undercoding the text, Calvino augments the duties of the concerned reader.
  3. (semiotics, transitive) To communicate (information) indirectly, by means of an undercode.
    • 1996 -, Kyong Liong Kim, Caged in Our Own Signs: A Book about Semiotics, →ISBN, page 70:
      Thus theology is also a logocentric system that undercodes mythology.
    • 2010, Mieke Bal, Of What One Cannot Speak: Doris Salcedo's Political Art, →ISBN, page 62:
      Instead of either stylizing the violence out of sight or repressing representation entirely, she undercodes the violence so that its presence in the resulting work, which is partly representational and partly anti-representational, is all the more tenacious and acute.
    • 2013, Samantha George & Bill Hughes, Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead, →ISBN:
      Ken Gelder argues in a psychoanalytic reading of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula that the text 'overcodes sexuality at the level of performance, but undercodes it at the level of utterance.
  4. To encode a secret message that is masked by a surface message or stream of data.
    • 2013, J. D. Robb, Thankless in Death, →ISBN, page 37:
      Just as she'd needed him to undercode a message into the financial routing she prayed someone with exceptional eskills would find.
  5. To represent by a code that indicates a lower level of service than what was provided.
    • 2001, Jerome H. Carter, Electronic Medical Records: A Guide for Clinicians and Administrators, →ISBN:
      Generally, physicians "undercode" defensively as routine practice. That is, a physician may indicate a level of service less than that actually rendered due to the difficulties in documenting the visit properly for the appropriate service level.
    • 2005, Carolyn Buppert, The Primary Care Provider's Guide to Compensation and Quality, →ISBN:
      It is estimated that medical groups undercode 50% to 60% of the time.
    • 2011, Nancy Gardner, Billing & Coding Clear & Simple: A Medical Insurance Worktext, →ISBN:
      The CPT code used must represent the exact procedure performed. A code that is only “close enough” will either undercode or overcode the actual service provided.
    • 2012, Tony Romack, State: Bored Of Medicine, →ISBN:
      I tended to undercode, as they say. That is, I often charged a lower amount by using a lower code.
  6. To use fewer codes than are needed to fully describe something.
    • 1972, Alice Schlegel, Male dominance and female autonomy:
      Coding should be done with great exactness: it is better to "overcode" than to "undercode."
    • 1981, Stephen L. Haynes, Computers and litigation support, page 422:
      The Coder should not undercode a document. Because of the diversity of documents likely to be encountered and the likelihood that topics will overlap a given subject discussion will often involve two or more SUBJECT CODES.
    • 1991, Exceptional Child Education Resources - Volume 23, page 511:
      Mothers were found highly inconsistent in their own coding and tended to undercode their children's aversive responses.
    • 2005, Daniel J. Friedman, Edward L. Hunter, & R. Gibson Parrish, Health Statistics, →ISBN:
      Second, incomplete coding is especially problematic for chronic conditions. Good evidence suggests that hospitals undercode chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, particularly for acutely ill pateints (Iezzoni et al. 1992; Jencks et al. 1988; Jollis et al. 1993; Malenka et al. 1994).